The West Irving Library is going green, operating completely on solar power.
Casey Tate, Irving Capital Improvement Program director, said the city received a $1.1 million grant from the Department of Energy to build the library. The grant funded two-thirds of the total cost for the solar panel system.
The 1-year-old building has a VIP parking spot reserved for the greenest car on the lot. Outlets are available for electric and hybrid cars. And most of the parking spaces are in shade provided by more than 1,400 solar panels.
"In the past year, we are net zero," Tate said. "I think we put a total of about 28,000 kilowatt hours back onto the grid, so we are to the positive. We generated more power than we used."
The front lawn of the library has 144 geothermal wells underground that are 250 feet deep. There are 14 miles of piping down there that circulate the water through the wells, providing cooling and heating for the building. Tate said the system has been cost-saving.
"Over [a] traditional HCAC system, it's expected to save us 20 to 40 percent based on how we use it," he said.
Inside the library, colorful LED lights replace regular lightbulbs in the children's section. The entire library uses energy-efficient lights. Energy from the sun fuels the computers and TVs.
This news came as a surprise to new Irving resident Jack Galbert.
"I think that is very cool," said Irving resident Jack Galbert, who was surfing the Web on his laptop. "I didn't think anything about it."
Jillian Guilford, another Irving resident, said she was proud that the city was being mindful of its carbon footprint.
"I love that that is happening," she said. "I used to go around different houses wondering, 'It's Texas. You have sun. Why not use it? You have wind. Use this.'"