Our city library built a new building in 2009, so we have been in this gorgeous modern building for 4 years now. I can’t say enough about how much better it is than our old building, built in 1901.
The architects made us a LEED Gold building, which means that our building has a lot of environmentally friendly features, like a shower in the staff bathroom so we can shower after riding our bikes to work. Unfortunately, things have often gone wrong with the green features of our building. Just some examples: our roof has leaked in several places, the geothermal system wasn’t working correctly for quite a while, there is an ongoing humidity problem in the archive, and there are odd outlets and switches that don’t seem to do anything at all. It’s been frustrating, but it isn’t anything that the general public is aware of, so we just motor on and don’t whine in public about the problems.
Today, a state chapter of the USGBC, the United States Green Building Council, the sponsors of the LEED certification program, met in one of our smaller meeting rooms for the first time. All the rooms have motion sensors instead of light switches, so that if the building senses no movement in an area after five or ten minutes, the lights go off. Because they were just sitting still and talking, the lights kept switching off, and the green people had to jump up every so often and wave their hands so the lights would come back on. It was quite satisfying, seeing them having to deal with issues we deal with on a daily basis.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I think that green is good, but when people promote green to the exculsion of all else, and look down their noses on others who may not share their views, it’s quite annoying. Give me green, but work out the bugs before you force me to live with it. And perhaps most importantly, give me information and let me make my own choice.