The Half Moon Bay Library will be honored later this spring for its contributions to sustainability in San Mateo County. The library, which opened its doors in August 2018, is the recipient of this year’s Green Building Award from Sustainable San Mateo County.
The library will be recognized at the environmental nonprofit’s 20th annual awards dinner on April 4. The Citizens Environmental Council of Burlingame, TransForm, longtime Sustainable San Mateo County board member Bill Shulte and Lime, the San Mateo based electric-scooter company, are also being honored at the awards ceremony.
Katie Woods, communications manager for San Mateo County Libraries, praised the library for achieving the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s “gold” status, which recognizes facilities that strive for energy efficiency during the building process.
“We really wanted to be thoughtful,” said Woods. “It was really important for all of the partners involved — the county, the city and the library — that we were really (deliberate) about the materials that went into building this wonderful library.”
Woods said that the project prioritized the use of recyclable materials like reclaimed wood. The installation of bicycle racks and electric-vehicle charging stations outside the building, as well as inside showers for employees, also contributed to library’s eco-friendly status.
Beyond that, Woods said many of the library’s systems, including in-floor heating and automatic window shades, also cut down on energy consumption. “We really try to maximize window space for daylight, as much as possible, to avoid the overuse of artificial lighting,” said Woods. “Plus, you get amazing outside views.”
Library officials said that the facility was also designed as a “net zero” building, meaning that it is capable of producing as much, or more, energy as it consumes.
Deputy City Manager Matthew Chidester said the library is completely powered by solar panels.
The city has not been able to track the building’s energy production yet due to difficulties installing the panels, in addition to utility connection woes with PG&E.
“That’s still being resolved right now,” he said. “So, our baseline year for net zero energy hasn’t even started, because we haven’t had full use of the solar panels yet. Hopefully, that can happen in the next couple of months — especially before we get to summer and the good sunshine.”
Woods also emphasized the green practices embedded within day-to-day operations at the library.
“We recycle our 3-D printing filaments, which is really important,” she added. “And then, when it comes down to the materials that we’re using for programs, we try to focus on compostable and recycled supplies as much as possible.”
Chidester noted that the recognition reflects the strength of the partnership between the city and the county’s library network.