Our Commitment to Sustainability
West Vancouver Memorial Library is committed to environmentally sustainable practices. We acknowledge that our natural resources are precious and finite and that each of us is responsible for our stewardship and consumption of them.
With sustainability as a core value of the Library's 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan, we continuously explore opportunities to foster our sustainable site, reduce water and energy consumption and add to the well-being of our building's staff and visitors. We also pursue new ways to better reuse, repurpose and recycle our materials and resources. Moreover, our concern for the environment extends beyond the management of our facility. As a public library whose mission is to connect people with ideas, information and the world of imagination, we disseminate theoretical, factual and innovative information about the ongoing ecological challenges of our era. Through our changes, care and commitment, we hope to inspire others to make healthy choices for our planet.
The Library's commitment to sustainable practices began as a staff-led grassroots effort in 2006. Staff established a Green Team that conceived of ways to save energy, reduce waste, conserve water and restrict hazardous chemical use. Environmentally responsible choices included turning off lights, purchasing green products, expanding our recycling program and composting. These choices proved effective in decreasing utility costs and uniting staff with a common purpose.
Library administration and board members took note and were inspired to support staff efforts. In 2009, the WVML adopted a Green Buildings Operation Policy to guide decisions regarding purchasing, housekeeping, solid waste management, integrated pest management, erosion control and landscape management and plumbing.
In 2012, the Green Team transformed into the Green Committee and now has representatives from all departments in the Library. Each member of the Green Committee cares about inspiring change from the ground up. The Committee aims to reduce the Library's ecological footprint by engaging employees in sustainability initiatives that create awareness and encourage shifts in behaviour.
The Library Leads with LEED
In 2011, the West Vancouver Memorial Library became the first library in Canada to be awarded LEED Silver certification for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance.
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is a Canadian Building Council program that encourages sustainable building practices through internationally accepted tools and performance criteria. The Library continues to meet and surpass LEED standards.
Between 2006 and 2010, the Library achieved:
- 68% reduction in water usage
- 34% reduction in power usage
- 42% reduction in gas usage
- 30% less solid waste pick-up
Learn more about the Library's journey to LEED recognition in our LEED EB: O&M Certification Report.
Building Envelope Efficiency Retrofit
Since its founding in 1950, the Library has expanded four times with each renovation incorporating new mechanical, electrical and roofing systems. The subsequent 56,000 square foot patchwork structure presented challenges to operating costs, environmental efficiency and day-to-day functionality.
In 2009, a Building Assessment Report was conducted and resulted in a recommended Capital Retrofit Project. In 2010 – 2013, the scope of work completed by the District of West Vancouver included replacements of window glazing and skylights, mechanical systems and controls, air handling units, a 1976 boiler and the roof.
The reformed building envelope features:
- Upgraded controls for our HVAC system, allowing us to run the system more efficiently for healthy building conditions, using fresh, outdoor air
- Automated, energy efficient windows that are also tied into our HVAC system for natural air cooling
- High efficiency air handling and boiler units
- A low maintenance, long lasting, cost effective and energy efficient metal roof
In 2016/2017, the entire West Wing was renovated. While the major work was the replacement of the parking membrane and deck, the entire interior was redesigned and features bright, high efficiency LED lighting. Energy efficient windows and skylights replaced the leaking, single-paned glass.
District of West Vancouver civic buildings, including the Library, now feature multi-stream waste stations for paper recycling, container recycling, food scraps recycling and garbage. The new colour-coded bins mimic West Van’s successful residential recycling programs, making it easier to recycle.
OCTOBER 4, 2016
West Vancouver Memorial Library is featured in Rebekkah Smith Aldrich’s column on sustainability in Library Journal, the largest library publication in North America.
The Library adds a mason bee house. Our bee doings are detailed in the August 2016 issue of BCLA Perspectives.
Director Jenny Benedict and Librarian Julie Backer give a webinar entitled Going Green and Saving Money at West Vancouver Memorial Library as part of the "The New Barn-Raising - strageties for sustaining community and civic assets" series.
Chad Arsenault, Library Building Service Supervisor at West Vancouver Memorial Library wins a District of West Vancouver Employee Recognition Award for Excellence in Sustainability. Chad champions energy management and waste diversion projects to effect operational changes that have made the Library sustainable. He initiated a food waste composting program for staff and library patrons, and he implemented a project for diverting paper towels for composting. Chad lives sustainability, and has contributed toward solid waste cost savings, building energy savings and environmental benefits.
Learn how you can make more environmentally sustainable choices.
- Ask our expert staff to assist you
- Search our catalogue for our excellent collections on topics such as carbon footprint, green cleaning techniques and water-wise gardening
- Borrow one of energy meters, which measure your home appliances' energy consumption
- Consult our Environment & Sustainability page to research online resources
- View our events calendar for programs related to sustainability