Ferndale Public Library Green Tour

(Crystal A. Proxmire, with special thanks to Patrick Dengate and Doug Raber)


“Why are there weeds growing on the roof of the new library?”


That’s the number one question that Ferndale Public Library Director Doug Raber faces about the new building, which has been officially open just a week.  For those who haven’t noticed, sections of the Library’s roof are covered with plants that, at a distance, looks like green grass with intermittent taller weeds. 


It’s not grass at all though, but an eco-friendly “living roof” made of sedum plants which help keep the building cool in the summer, insulated in the winter, and collecting extra rain water that would otherwise just go down into the sewers.


The thick-leaved plants are easy to care for, and give the Library a literal “green” feel.  The new building, which was funded through a voter-approved millage, is likely to be the second LEED certified building in the City (Affirmations being first), with plenty of features that could qualify it for a silver or gold rating.


Features include:


~Geothermal heating and cooling system.  Twenty eight wells go 400’ below the surface of the earth to a place where the temperature is consistent.  The system uses fluids in the wells to raise the temperature in the winter and lower it in the summer.


~Gray water storage and reuse.  Water is collected from the roof and stored in a large tank.  It is then pumped through a filtration system and used for flushing the toilets and watering the grass and garden.


~Toilets with options.  The low-flow toilets offer a little flush for most uses, but also has a button to allow a heftier amount of water in cases where it may be needed.


~Living roof.  The living roof keeps building cool in summer, insulated in winter and helps reduce the amount of rainwater going into the gutters.  The rest of the roof is made with a reflective white material that prevents heat absorption. 


~LED lighting.


~ Sunscreen awnings over windows to reduce summertime heat.


~Increased insulation in walls and ceilings.


~Low-emissivity windows, which have less heat absorbency than regular glass windows.



And of course visitors to the new Library can feel good about the availability of digital media, which reduces the amount of paper used in book production.  There are still plenty of physical books, but there are also many public access computers that can give users information without killing trees.


For more information on the Ferndale Public Library, check out their website at:  http://www.ferndale.lib.mi.us.


To find out what news stories The Ferndale 115 News has done about the Library, check out or Library News section at: http://www.ferndale115.com/library.html.