November 1, 2021

Trio of Transformational Libraries in County of Riverside Earn LEED Distinction

We’re excited to share that all three community libraries our team designed in the California county of Riverside have earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) distinction.

Specifically, the Desert Hot Springs and Menifee Libraries have achieved LEED Gold status and French Valley is recognized as a Silver-level design.

With a remarkable group of dynamic partners, our team helped transform these libraries to serve a broad and diverse range of 21st-centry library services, programs, and technologies. Collectively, they include meeting and classroom facilities, buildings spaces for all age groups, story time area, staff workroom and lounge, service area, storage room, opportunity room, community meeting rooms, outdoor reading room, and group student rooms.

The three libraries were delivered via a unique Public-Private Partnership (P3) that empowered the same team to execute the full project, completing all three libraries in 20 months. While each of these libraries feature similar sustainable design strategies, some of specific features. The Desert Hot Springs building is the only to include a photovoltaic (PV) system that provides 79% of energy cost via renewable energy. The Menifee Library irrigation system utilizes 100% recycled water.

Here’s a summary of key sustainable design strategies the County of Riverside libraries collectively deploy:


  • None of the projects are developed on environmentally sensitive land

Sustainable Sites:

  • Previously developed areas of the project sites were restored with native and adapted vegetation that is ecoregion appropriate and suitable for the climate.
  • All site designs provide vegetated open space
  • On-site water runoff is effectively managed via low-impact development and green infrastructure
  • Paving and roofing materials have high reflectivity to reduce heat island effect

Water Efficiency:

  • Reduced irrigation from calculated baseline through plant species selection, irrigation system efficiency, and connection to municipal recycled water pipeline.
  • Building plumbing fixtures use less water than the calculated baseline.
  • Water sub-metering is installed for irrigation system and domestic cold-water use.

Energy and Atmosphere:

  • Air conditioning units include airside economizers and all AC units serving areas with high people densities include demand control ventilation with CO2 sensors
  • Energy efficient fans, pumps, water heaters and boilers are present in each building.
  • Each library has a domestic hot water system that includes a high efficiency condensing water heater
  • The inclusion of dedicated thermostats to allow for separate scheduling of all facilities
  • Final building envelopes includes low-e glazing, and roof and wall insulation that allows for a building envelope that meets or exceeds minimum requirements set by ASHRAE.

Materials and Resources:

  • All buildings provide areas for collection and storage of recyclable waste streams
  • The design team performed a whole building Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to demonstrate savings in four environmental impact categories focused on carbon reduction.
  • Product selection prioritized material transparency and optimization by requiring Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) and Health Product Declarations (HPD’s) with many materials achieving 3rd party certifications such as Declare and Cradle to Cradle.

Indoor Environmental Quality:

  • All libraries are smoke-free campuses
  • The HVAC designs makes provisions to exhaust all areas with pollutants and chemicals and includes MERV-13 filtration throughout
  • Individual thermal comfort controls provided for the majority of individual occupant spaces and for all shared multi-occupant spaces.
  • Direct line of sight to the outdoors via vision glazing achieved for almost all regularly occupied floor spaces