tasked with building a new library that would accommodate a growing population
and its need for a more technologically savvy and environmentally friendly
space, the City of Highland, California, began examining a host of options. With
the Highland Sam J. Racadio Library and EnvironmentalLearningCenter,
named in honor of the former city manager, Sam J. Racadio who dedicated 18
years of service to the city, Highland officials constructed in a library that
honored his memory and looked toward with the future of Highland.
to create a facility that exemplified a commitment to educating citizens well
into the future and as well as addressing the latest building sustainable
development practices was essential to city officials. However, execution of
the design would take a great deal of planning and research. The new library
would be three times the size of the old library on Base Line Avenue and house many more
resources than before.
with sustainable design in every phase of planning, the new 30,000-square-foot
center was quite an undertaking for the city. A team of architects and
construction professionals was assembled to plan and execute this massive
project. Concrete applications throughout the building and its surrounding area
were chosen to maximize energy efficiency, create environmental benefits, and
form wall systems (ICFs) were chosen for to provide exterior walls with maximum
energy efficiency. ICFs are lightweight forms or molds for concrete made with
high-density polystyrene insulation, which stay permanently in place. These
large, hollow blocks are shipped to the construction site where they are stacked
together to form walls, reinforced with steel bar, and then filled with
concrete. The end result is a high-performance wall that is structurally sound
and is ready to accept final exterior and interior finishing. ICFs offer a
level of sound construction that traditional materials do not.
walls deliver better energy efficiency – keeping cooler air in during the
summer months and warmer air in during the winter months. In addition,
buildings with these types of wall systems are better able to withstand harsh
weather conditions such as hurricanes and earthquakes. The
library’s ICF wall systems are not the only use of concrete in the building and
on its grounds. The parking lot is constructed from recycled concrete, a by-product
of demolition that is readily available and conserves resources. Another
measure of sustainable design is evidenced by the library’s rooftop garden.
This not only beautifies the structure and substantially increases the amount
of green space, but also mitigates stormwater runoff and contributes to energy
efficiency by absorbing the sun’s rays.
to the public in May 2008, the dream of this community project was financially met
by a state grant from the Library Bond Act, the city Redevelopment Agency; San BernardinoCounty and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency of more than $16.5 million.
hallmarks of sustainable design and energy efficiency can be found throughout
the library and its surrounding area. By employing these techniques and
practices, the center achieved LEED Gold certification, a high honor given by the
U.S. Green Building Council for environmentally sustainable construction