As part of Buncombe County’s ongoing effort to save money and lower its carbon footprint, we’re excited to officially announce LEED certification for our new East Asheville Library. It’s Buncombe County’s first LEED-certified building in our facilities portfolio and an important part of our Strategic Plan 2025. “LEED certification is a well-known and established third-party validation of environmentally responsible construction practices,” explains Sustainability Officer Jeremiah Leroy. “Buildings that meet or exceed LEED requirements cost less to maintain, produce less waste, and help the County in achieving its ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
County Library Director Jim Blanton says beyond the environmental and cost considerations, LEED certification adds a unique dimension to the library’s goal of supporting lifelong learning. “By integrating these environmentally responsible design features, the building itself will serve as a learning resource. Staff will be able to share information with library visitors who want to learn more about green building methods,” notes Blanton. “As a highly visible community hub, the library is truly an ideal location to establish the first LEED certified County building.” And Commission Chair Brownie Newman has previously stated the additional accountability lends credibility to the certification: “The value of the [LEED] certification is that it’s not just us saying it will perform, but we had experts in the field confirm that.”
So what exactly makes the East Asheville Library a LEED-certified building? For this facility, a large portion of LEED credits came from optimizing energy performance and water efficiency. Facilities and Project Manager Ronnie Lunsford worked closely with the planning and construction of this building. He notes the energy efficiencies installed on this project show significant savings: “With the systems for HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, our whole building energy simulation shows a 28.6% energy cost savings over a standard facility. We also used landscaping that does not require irrigation to help with those credits. Another large chunk of credits came from indoor air quality. We used enhanced strategies, low-emitting materials, a construction Indoor Air Quality management plan, and a post-construction building flush to ensure a great indoor air quality in the facility.”
Buncombe County is excited about having its first LEED-certified building, but it’s only the beginning as Lunsford notes, “The new green building policy states that new facilities above 10,000 square feet and renovations of more than 50% will be to LEED Gold standards.”
We hope you’ll stop by the East Asheville Library to learn more about our efficiency designs the next time you’re checking out a book. For more information on Buncombe County’s energy efficiency efforts, visit our Suitability Office’s website.