After a $2.5-million renovation, the Culver City Julian Dixon Library has reopened with a new look, high-tech amenities, and the distinction of being Los Angeles County’s first Net-Zero Energy building.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who spearheaded the project, presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony with Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas. “I believe libraries are a vital resource for individual inquiry and community engagement that should evolve to meet the changing needs of its patrons,” he said.
With new solar panels, energy efficient lighting and windows, and an upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, the library has net-zero energy consumption – meaning the total amount of energy used by the building is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. The system will save $27,000 a year in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 28 cars off the road.
The library’s other new features include 38 computers – including eight just for children – two iPad catalogues for accessing services and collections; upgraded Wi-Fi hotspots, and digital signage to promote library events. Patrons will also enjoy having three self-checkout units, a renovated community meeting room and restrooms and a laptop vending machine with 16 additional computers that can be accessed for a fee
Library Director Skye Patrick thanked the nonprofit Culver City Friends of the Library for donating $210,000 worth of furniture, saying, “Every one of their members is a truly civic-minded individual who cares deeply about their community.”
The library also benefited from a training academy implemented by the County and the Emerald Cities Collaborative to help small businesses compete for municipal energy efficiency retrofit contracts. RBT Electric, an African American veteran-owned company, installed the library’s solar panels and insisted that half of the electricians on the project were local residents.
“Minority-owned small businesses contribute greatly to the economic strength of Los Angeles County,” said James Alva, Southern California market manager for Citi Community Development, which helped fund the training academy. “The E-Contractor Program ensures LA’s minority-owned small businesses have the expertise and support to succeed and create much needed jobs and wealth now and in the future.”
Net-Zero Energy Building