Our Commitment to Sustainability

West Vancouver Memorial Library is committed to environmentally sustainable practices. We acknowledge that our natural resources are precious and finite and that each of us is responsible for our stewardship and consumption of them.

With sustainability as a core value of the Library's 2016 - 2020 Strategic Plan, we continuously explore opportunities to foster our sustainable site, reduce water and energy consumption, and add to the well-being of our building's staff and visitors. We also pursue new ways to better reuse, repurpose, and recycle our materials and resources. Moreover, our concern for the environment extends beyond the management of our facility. As a public library whose mission is to connect people with ideas, information, and the world of imagination, we disseminate theoretical, factual, and innovative information about the ongoing ecological challenges of our era. Through our changes, care and commitment, we hope to inspire others to make healthy choices for our planet.

Our Accomplishments

Going Green

The Library's commitment to sustainable practices began as a staff-led grassroots effort in 2006. Staff established a Green Team that conceived of ways to save energy, reduce waste, conserve water, and restrict hazardous chemical use. Environmentally responsible choices included turning off lights, purchasing green products, expanding our recycling program, and even composting. These choices proved effective in decreasing utility costs and uniting staff with a common purpose.

Library administration and board members took note and were inspired to support staff efforts. In 2009, the WVML adopted a Green Buildings Operation Policy to guide decisions regarding purchasing; housekeeping; solid waste management; integrated pest management, erosion control, and landscape management; and plumbing.

In 2012, the Green Team transformed into the Green Committee and now has representatives from all departments in the Library. Each member of the Green Committee cares about inspiring change from the ground up. The Committee aims to reduce the Library's ecological footprint by engaging employees in sustainability initiatives that create awareness and encourage shifts in behaviour.

The Library Leads with LEED

LEED Plaque

In 2011, the West Vancouver Memorial Library became the first library in Canada to be awarded LEED Silver certification for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is a Canadian Building Council program that encourages sustainable building practices through internationally accepted tools and performance criteria. The Library continues to meet and surpass LEED standards.

Between 2006 and 2010, the Library achieved:

  • 68% reduction in water usage
  • 34% reduction in power usage
  • 42% reduction in gas usage
  • 30% less solid waste pick-up

Learn more about the Library's journey to LEED recognition in our LEED EB: O&M Certification Report.

Building Envelope Efficiency Retrofit

Since its founding in 1950, the Library has expanded four times with each renovation incorporating new mechanical, electrical, and roofing systems. The subsequent 56,000 square foot patchwork structure presented challenges to operating costs, environmental efficiency, and day-to-day functionality.

In 2009, a Building Assessment Report was conducted and resulted in a recommendation for a five year Capital Retrofit Project. Work that has been completed to date, supported by the District of West Vancouver, includes replacements of window glazing and skylights, mechanical systems and controls, air handling units, a 1976 boiler, the roof, as well as combining heating systems. The remaining scope of work, replacing the parking membrane and deck, is slated for 2014.

Our reformed building envelope features:

  • Upgraded controls for our HVAC system, allowing us to run the system more efficiently for healthy building conditions, using fresh, outdoor air
  • Automated, energy efficient windows that are also tied into our HVAC system for natural air-cooling
  • High efficiency air handling and boiler units
  • A low maintenance, long lasting, cost effective and energy efficient metal roof

Latest updates

November, 2015

Director Jenny Benedict and Librarian Julie Backer give a webinar entitled Going Green and Saving Money at West Vancouver Memorial Library as part of the "The New Barn-Raising - strageties for sustaining community and civic assets" series. 

September, 2015

Chad Arsenault, Library Building Service Supervisor at West Vancouver Memorial Library wins a District of West Vancouver Employee Recognition Award for Excellence in Sustainability. Chad champions energy management and waste diversion projects to effect operational changes thathave made the library sustainable. He initiated a food waste composting program for staff and library patrons, and he implemented a project for diverting paper towels for composting. Chad lives sustainability, and has contributed toward solid waste cost savings, building energy savings and environmental benefits. 

April 9, 2014

Earth Day 2014 (April 22) will mark one year since West Vancouver Memorial Library switched to the Green Can Program and began separating organic waste from garbage headed for the landfill. In 2013, two thirds of West Vancouver residents also used their Green Can to reduce our overall garbage volume by 30 percent, helping the District recycle and compost 68.5 per cent of its solid waste. This has placed Metro Vancouver's 70 per cent recycling and composting goal well within reach. Read more in our April 9, 2014 press release.

may 18, 2013

The book Greening Libraries, which contains a chapter on green practices at WVML by librarian Julie Backer, was a recent winner in the Business Book section at the 2013 Green Book Festival.

APRIL 23, 2013

Library launches pilot composting program

West Vancouver Memorial Library became the test site for a composting program today. With new compost pails on site, the Library will be disposing of all food wastes and paper towels. The Library expects to divert a large quantity of waste from the landfill and reduce its garbage pick-up by half.

May 12, 2012

Julie Backer and Sue Kent of West Vancouver Memorial Library, convened a session at the British Columbia Library Association conference.  Green advocates from public and academic libraries discussed how to encourage staff, trustees and municipalities and campuses to participate in greener practices and programs.

November, 2011

Building Services Supervisor Chad Arsenault wins a District of West Vancouver Employee Recognition Award (Excellence in Safety) for his contribution to sustainability in the Library.

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