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Pico Branch Library


Santa Monica Public Library - Pico Branch
2201 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Additional Information - Library Website

Site Planning

  • The Pico Branch Library is sited in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-rated Virginia Avenue Park, the first park in the nation to achieve LEED certification.
  • Placing the library adjacent to the existing Thelma Terry Building maximized the open space at the park. No grass space was used for the library.
  • No additional vehicle parking was added.
  • Site trees were protected and permeable paving at the Annex ramp provides irrigation to the landscaping. 
  • The community joined in the library planning by completing a survey and participating in five focus groups highlighting architecture and program planning.
  • Three municipal bus routes stop at Virginia Avenue Park, the site of the Library.
  • Bike lockers and new bike racks are included. Bike valet service is provided for the popular Saturday Farmers Market.

Water Efficiency

  • Smart landscaping reduces potable water use by 59% by using drought tolerant, native or adapted planning, water efficient drip irrigation, and weather-based irrigation controllers.
  • Water use reduction through high efficiency plumbing fixtures reduce indoor potable water use by 69%.
  • The Pico Branch Library is Santa Monica's first municipal building to implement Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting for Indoor Use pdf

Energy Use

  • Like all newly constructed City buildings, the Pico Branch is powered by 100% renewable energy, purchased under contract.
  • Trellises and awnings shade the building interior. Trellis-mounted photovoltaic panels generate on-site electric power.
  • The light-colored and reflective roof keeps the building cool. Light-colored paving and concrete reduces “heat islands,” which contribute to higher summer temperatures and smog. 
  • Energy reduction achieved through use of high efficiency LED and fluorescent lighting fixtures.
  • Six Electric Vehicle charging stations are available at Virginia Avenue Park.

Pico-Branch-interior-windowphotos by William Short Photography

Innovation and Design Process

  • Daylight is harvested through skylights, solar tubes, north-facing clerestories, large windows with overhangs, shade canopies and trellises.
  • The two-building design is linked by an overhead trellis which is topped by photovoltaic cells.
  • Rainwater is collected, filtered, and reused for toilets to both save water and to keep the runoff from overburdening the stormwater system – the first time this has been done in Los Angeles County.
  • A plenum space above the ceiling helps air circulation.

Materials and Resources

  • Over 95% of the construction waste was recycled.
  • Over 20% of the newly-purchased construction materials contained recycled content, including the carpet and linoleum.  Fifty year-old redwood beams were used for bench seating and picnic tables in the park.
  • Over 10% of the construction materials were produced within the region.
  • More than 69% of the new wood used in the framing was certified to originate from sustainable forests.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Ninety-six percent of the seating offers views to the outdoors through shaded windows.
  • Daylight climate controls include using automated light and motion sensors to maximize the benefits of natural lighting.
  • A thermal comfort controls, via raised floor ventilation, mix fresh air into the system to support users’ optimal productivity, comfort and well-being.
  • Buildings were "flushed" prior to staff moving in. This process involved running the mechanical system for two weeks following the completion of construction, and bringing 100% fresh air into the building. All mechanical system filters were replaced to remove construction related contaminants. 
  • All paint on the walls and structure, as well as all adhesives and sealants, are low VOC (volatile organic compounds), and contain little or none of the dangerous chemicals commonly found in these materials.
  • Individually controlled task lighting is placed at table seating for adults.


Public Education

  • The City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment (OSE) has produced a short film highlighting the sustainable features at the Pico Branch. The film will be part of public service announcements looping on Pico’s media wall.
  • Public tours of the Library’s sustainable features will be offered to visiting classes from area public and private schools, other City of Santa Monica departments, and interested parties requesting a tour.
  • Literature on the Pico Branch’s sustainable features will be available at all library locations, Virginia Avenue Park and at City Hall.

Project Information

Architect : Koning Eizenberg Architecture

Landscape Architect : Spurlock Poirier

Signage : Newsom Design

Contractor : R.C. Construction Services

Construction Mgmt : Swinerton

LEED Consultant : Brightworks

Size : 8690 square feet

Cost : $10.8 million

Funding : City of Santa Monica General and Capital Improvement Funds

Completion Date : April 2014

Last updated: Tuesday, 05/26/2015

New Construction Guide (Updated 2020)

Download (pdf)

Energy Reach Code Cost Effectiveness Studies

 ZNE Cost Effectiveness Study
Download (pdf)

Green Leasing Guide

 Green Leasing Guide Cover Photo
This guide provides commercial tenants and property managers with an intro to green leasing, the value of green leasing, and the factors that go into deciding whether a green lease is the right fit.

Matrix 2.0 Alternative Water Guidelines 

 Matrix Document Banner
download (pdf)
New roadmap for decentralized, alternate water supplies - indoor and outdoor non-potable water regulations streamlined for rainwater, graywater, stormwater, blackwater use.

Solution Finding for Net Zero Water 

Sustainability experts from across the nation convened to explore statutory, technological, and engineering barriers to the widespread implementation of water recycling and reuse systems in commercial and residential buildings.
Net Zero Water Booklet
download (pdf)


City of Santa Monica © 2021

Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment
1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-2213 · TTY (310) 917-6626