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State applauds earth-friendly fix-up at Reynolds Corners Branch library


A lava table has been placed in the teen section of the Reynolds Corners Branch Library on Dorr Street. <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/jpg/TO66067417.JPG> <b><font color=red>VIEW:</b></font color=red> <a href="/assets/pdf/TO701091230.PDF" target="_blank "><b>More photos of the library renovation: </b></a>Dec. 30, 2009

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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A local library is now the first in Ohio to be recognized for its Earth-friendly renovation.

The Reynolds Corner Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is now recognized as the first library in Ohio to earn LEED Silver certification.

The $1.9 million renovation, which was complete in September, was certified earlier this month under requirements laid out by the U.S. Green Building Council, which oversees the certification program.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification is reserved for projects built according to standards of health, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability.

The renovation includes new skylights to use natural light, the removal of a courtyard that wasted space and allowed heat to escape, a white roof to reduce unwanted heat in the building, and new insulation throughout to promote energy efficiency.

Materials that were to be discarded from the library were instead given to the local Habitat for Humanity to be reused. Those new materials purchased originated from or were manufactured within 500 miles of here, said Charlie Oswanski, library facilities and operations director.

Though the requirements likely boosted the overall cost of the project by as much as $40,000, the library could enjoy an energy cost savings over time, Mr. Oswanski said. The library will soon add a remote-program function to the heating and cooling systems at library branches to further reduce costs and save energy, he said.

"We're proud of the fact that we went through the extra effort to do this," Mr. Oswanski said. "We think it's pretty significant."

The renovation achieved LEED Silver, which is the second level in the four categories of distinction. The library renovation stopped just short of the next LEED category - Gold. To have achieved the distinction a notch above, the library might have installed more efficient fixtures in the rest rooms, or might have skipped lighting the exterior of the building, said Kent Buehrer, whose firm, Buehrer Group Architecture and Engineering Inc., designed and oversaw the project.

"Silver is nothing to be ashamed of," Mr. Buehrer said.

Having reached for a more elite category of LEED certification would have been more expensive, Mr. Buehrer added.

Sustainable building practices are taking hold in northwest Ohio, Mr. Buehrer said. Since his firm's building became the first LEED Gold-certified structure in the area early this year, both the University of Toledo field house and the new headquarters for the Center for Equal Justice at 525 Jefferson Ave. followed by earning the distinction.

"This is catching on, you might want to say," Mr. Buehrer said. "It's going to be unusual not to do this."

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