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Carnegie Library turns new page on sustainable funding, sustainable design

CLP receives nearly $500,00 in grants Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) has announced its first U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification, as well as two new sustainable funding initiatives -- the Donor Plus program and a 10-member task force to find long-term money to run its branches.

CLP's 5,000-square-foot Woods Run location has been certified LEED Silver for its renovation completed in the summer of 2006. A plaque will be presented at its April 22 Earth Day celebration. Designed by Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects, the renovation includes new mechanical systems and thermal insulation throughout, as well as new lighting and the introduction of daylighting in all occupied spaces.

Ron Graziano, CLP facilities director, says the green renovation creates a clean, high-quality environment for its occupants, and significantly reduces operating costs. Water-conserving plumbing fixtures reduce water usage by more than 30%, and high-efficiency mechanical systems create an energy cost savings of more than 15% above that required by current building codes.

"By reducing costs to run the building, we can provide more physical, hands-on services to our customers, rather than spending those funds on utilities," says Graziano.

Several other CLP branches that have been designed to LEED standards are currently awaiting certification: Allegheny ($6 million building renovation completed in 2009), Hill District ($3.15 million renovation completed in 2008), Squirrel Hill ($4.7 million renovation completed in 2005), Brookline ($2.9 million renovation completed 2004), and East Liberty, which is expected to re-open in August 2010 after a $5.6 million renovation.

In addition to sustainable design, CLP is also committed to securing sustainable funding. Last year, the Library struggled to close the gap between increasing costs and declining revenues, due primarily to state budget cuts and level RAD funding. CLP projected a $5 million deficit by 2014 and presented an Action Plan, which included service reductions and branch consolidations and closures. That Action Plan is currently on hold until January 2011 as the Library works to find long-term dedicated funding.

In February, CLP announced the creation of a 10-member public-private task force to explore alternative funding models. That group -- which includes representatives from UPMC, Reed Smith, The Pittsburgh Foundation, the City and the County -- is holding its first meeting this week.

This week CLP is also relaunching is Donor Plus library card program, which raised nearly $60,000 in 2009. The Donor Plus card -- $30 for individuals and $50 for a family card -- is tax deductible, and includes incentives such as a unique card design, special events invitations, e-newsletter subscriptions, and a 20% discount at more than 25 area Crazy Mocha locations, including at CLP - Main.

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Ron Graziano, facilities director, and Suzanne Thinnes, communication manager, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Image of Woods Run courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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