Irving West Library

4444 W. Rochelle Blvd.
Irving, TX 75062

Tour Hours: 10am - 4pm


Texas’ First LEED Certified, Net Zero Energy Library: When applied to a home or commercial building, net zero energy means that the building generates as much electricity as it consumes on an annual basis.

Not only is the West Irving Library equipped with the latest in technology, its construction and design incorporate the latest in green building techniques such as drought tolerant landscaping and electric car charging stations.


Fran Witte will present "Solar Cooking" at IWL at 1:00 pm. She will be heating up the oven and cooking between 11 am and 1 permitting of course!

Cooking using the power of the sun has been around for a long time.  "Early Neolithic methods for cooking grains, which we know about from ancient writing including the Old Testament, include cooking primitive bread on hot rocks in the sun and were methods available to Paleolithic people".  (excerpt from The Spartan Diet).  Learn more about cooking with the sun using conventional solar ovens.  Fran Witte will discuss the benefits of using the power of the sun to cook a variety of foods including rice, eggs, cakes, stews and more.  Individuals will see a variety of solar ovens as well.  Presentation starts at 1 p.m. at Irving's West Irving Library, followed by a sampling (contingent upon the cooperation from the sun).

Renewable energy features

Solar PV

kW: 346
Installation date: April 7, 2011
Installer: Applied Solar LLC (
Equipment: 1,444 SolarWorld 240 watt panels, PV Powered 75 kW inverter, PV Powered 260 kW inverter, Wattsun AZ225 tracker, 12 Enphase D380 microinverters.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Friendly

Charging Stations including two Level 2 charging stations (these are Blink stations).  The other EV charging is Level 1.  They are all powered by renewable energy.

Energy Monitoring

Installation date: April 7, 2011
Installer: Applied Solar LLC (
Equipment: DECK monitoring w/ flat screen display in entrance lobby.


Host Comments:

West Irving Library – LEED Gold Level

The West Irving Library was recently awarded a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) GOLD Level by the United States Green Building Council. The GOLD level is the second highest level of LEED award that signifies the City’s commitment to a sustainable environment.

The primary focus of the LEED program is the conservation of energy, the conservation of water, and reduction of the carbon footprint. This focus benefits all of society by promoting the long term sustainability of the earth. The goal of LEED is to create buildings that are efficient, healthy, long lasting, affordable, and environmentally friendly.

The City’s initiative in LEED began with Executive Order EO-04 in August 2008. This executive order required all new construction of City owned buildings to meet LEED criteria. Early in the programming stage of the West Irving Library, City Staff considered a goal of CERTIFIED, the lowest LEED level, in order to strive for fiscal responsibility in initial cost of the project. As the design progressed, City Staff and Consultants determined that designing highly efficient systems into the building not only achieved a higher LEED level, but more importantly resulted in on-going cost savings for the City over the life of the building. This determination, along with a $1.158 million grant from the Texas State Energy Conservation Office to help offset the cost of a solar photo-voltaic (PV) system, set the City’s sight on a run for a GOLD level rating.

To achieve the GOLD level rating, the West Irving Library is constructed with consideration of environmentally sensitive criteria such as:

  • Renewable energy, including the solar PV system
  • Construction waste recycling
  • Use of recycled materials in the construction
  • Energy Management System to control building ventilation
  • Use of low VOC
  • Use of regionally available materials
  • Alternate transportation
  • Water use reduction

Renewable Energy Resources

The solar power system consists of over 1400 solar panels, totaling about 29,000 square feet – the Library itself is only 25,000 square feet. Since the system was put on-line in April 2011, over 2,300,000 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of power has been generated by the sun’s energy. The ability to produce and use this power in lieu of buying power from the electric utility has provided the City over $100,000 in utility cost savings. In fact, the Library has been able to achieve a “Net-Zero” energy building status. Net-Zero energy means the solar power system generates as much power as the building will consume over the course of a year.

During the hot, sunny months of a Texas summer, the sun’s energy produces more electric power than is needed to operate the building. This excess power is “sold” back to the electric utility grid. Since July 2011, over 1,000,000 kwh of electricity was put back on the grid.

The use of this renewable energy source is environmentally beneficial by reducing the carbon footprint. The total energy generated by the system has saved an equivalent output of over 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). This is equivalent to over 40,000 trees required to offset this CO2 output. The total energy generated is equivalent to approximately 180,000 gallons of gasoline and would light over 13,000 sixty-watt light bulbs at eight hours per day, for one year.

In addition to the solar power system, a highly efficient geo-thermal heat pump system provides heating and air conditioning for the Library. The geo-thermal system saves approximately 25% - 40% of energy consumption compared to a typical commercial heating and air conditioning system. The geo-thermal system includes 140 wells that are 250’ deep, resulting in about 14 miles of underground piping. The constant groundwater at this depth provides a source of heating and cooling for the system.

To further increase efficiency, the building was designed to take full advantage of daylight harvesting. The north facing walls have large windows to allow maximum daylight to penetrate the building and harvest natural light for the building, reducing energy consumption for lighting.

Overall, the West Irving Library not only represents the City’s commitment to environmental sustainability, but also provides a development model for future libraries as well as all city Facilities.