- The Washington Times - Friday, November 4, 2005

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Visitors to Bill Clinton’s presidential library probably wouldn’t guess that they’re treading on rubber-tire floors and looking up at soda-can ceilings. But the library now offers a special green tour to feature its environmentally friendly construction.

Before architects started designing, they knew the former president wanted his library on the banks of the Arkansas River to be energy-efficient. The final product was the first and only presidential library to earn an award from the U.S. Green Building Council for environmental design.

The library started offering the green tours in late September for a weekend meeting of the American Solar Energy Society, but the tour proved so popular that the museum has begun to offer it each Saturday and for groups upon request.

David Williams, a library volunteer, gives the tours. He points out that even the library’s location is relevant to the theme. “This land was a contaminated brownfield,” he says. “We’ve gone from a contaminated piece of property [to one] that now is a city park.”

The center received a silver certification in Leadership Energy & Environmental Design, a rating system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, which promotes environmentally responsible and high-performance buildings. There are four LEED certification levels for green buildings: platinum, gold, silver and certified, with platinum the highest.

On the second floor of the library, Mr. Williams points out the 143,000 pounds of glass windows that allow natural light to flow into the building.

Mr. Clinton, Mr. Williams says, “wanted maximum light, natural light, in here.” Too much light could damage the library displays, however, so 258 double-layer panels were placed on the side of the building, outside the glass, to filter the light.

Mr. Williams points to the black floor. “You’re standing on rubber, recycled. Most of it is tires,” he says. The wooden floors are made of bamboo, a rapidly renewable product.

Downstairs, Mr. Williams says, the ceilings “are recycled aluminum. About 75 percent [of] aluminum is recycled soda cans.” Outside are 336 solar panels on the roof, one of the building’s energy sources.

The parking lot features bicycle racks and three stations where electric cars can recharge. There also are newly planted trees, and in five years, when they’re fully grown, they will provide shade for 50 percent of the parking places.

• • •

Clinton Presidential Library, River Market District, downtown Little Rock; visit www.clintonfoundation.org/cpc-index.htm. The library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Adults $7, seniors and students $5, children 6 to 17 $3. Green tours are offered at noon Saturday or by request; call 501/748-0419 to check availability. For other inquiries, call 501/370-5050. U.S. Green Building Council: www.usgbc.org or 202/ 828-7422.

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