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Green buildings as sustainability education tools

Laura L. Barnes (Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 31 August 2012



The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of green building technologies and practices and illustrate how public libraries can use them as tools to teach their communities about sustainability and foster behavior change.


Through literature searches, case studies analysis, and individual phone and e‐mail interviews, the author identified ways that public libraries can use their buildings to demonstrate green technologies and practices and show their patrons how to apply them at home, at work, and in the community.


Education is a component of LEED certification. Many LEED certified libraries publicize a list of the green technologies used in their building projects. Some sponsor programs related to the green building and include permanent displays in the library to explain how the technology works. The Fayetteville Public Library went beyond these basic techniques to not only improve the sustainability of their operations but also become a community test bed for a renewable energy project.


This paper sheds light on how building projects can be used not only to educate the public about green technologies and practices, but also inspire others to begin using similar techniques at home, at work, and in the community.



Barnes, L.L. (2012), "Green buildings as sustainability education tools", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 397-407.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited