Green library uses dashboard to show efficiencies

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Sarah Erdman, Marketing Director, QA Graphics

Originally posted September 21, 2011, on

Image credit: Drake Library

The Drake Community Library in Grinnell, Iowa, is showing patrons how efficient their building is, and what makes those efficiencies possible, through an educational display called the Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard®.

After residing in its previous location for more than 100 years, the Drake Community Library moved into its new and very sustainable building in late 2009. The library was designed according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s® (USGBC) LEED® standards and is anticipating Gold status.

As the community was rallied to help fund the construction of the new building, the Drake Library wanted to share with patrons what features were put in place to make the library sustainable. They worked with QA Graphics® to develop an Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard as part of their mission to educate the public about the sustainable building.

“QA Graphics’ dashboard seemed an ideal way to catch the public's attention,” said Lorna Caulkins, director of Drake Community Library. “We had told the community throughout our building project that the building design would save money on energy expenditures, and this is one way of demonstrating it graphically.”

QA Graphics’ Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard (EEED) solution is an interactive application used to illustrate building performance and provide education about an organization’s sustainable initiatives. At the Drake Library, it’s displayed on a 42-inch touchscreen in the lobby, allowing visitors to walk up and learn about the library’s construction. The dashboard provides feedback on how efficiently the library is using electricity and water, by displaying real-time usage information and comparing that to past usage, over weekly, monthly and yearly time periods.

“Patrons have been very interested,” said Caulkins. “Some of the response is kids enjoying the touch screen, but we hope they are learning something while playing with it.”

Also explained on the dashboard, is what building features and sustainable practices were put in place at the new green library, including a geothermal system, lighting control system, the use of recyclable and renewable materials, tankless water heaters, motion sensors for lighting, low-flow water fixtures, landscaping with native species, including prairie grasses, and how purchases from regional manufacturers were made whenever possible. To help visitors understand how some these green building concepts actually work, demonstrations visually illustrate how the geothermal system and natural daylighting work within the library. In addition, the educational display provides a checklist showing which points the library met in their goal of obtaining LEED certification.

QA Graphics’ educational solution has been used by libraries, schools, universities, restaurants, commercial businesses and government organizations to educate occupants and the public about what makes their organization sustainable. The solution has been used by a number organizations obtaining USGBC LEED certification, and more recently, schools aligned with the mission of Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS). Learn more about the Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard (

About QA Graphics
QA Graphics is an innovative graphic development company specializing in graphic outsourcing for the building automation industry. The company is an industry leader in the design of BAS graphics, symbol libraries, HVAC graphic development, user interfaces, and the award-winning Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard® used to educate about building performance and sustainable initiatives. QA Graphics also provides a comprehensive offering of interactive services including interactive content, 3D design/animation, multimedia and other creative solutions.

Image credit: Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard