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Introducing Bozeman’s Solar-Powered Public Library

The transformed Bozeman Public Library near Lindley Park in Bozeman is home to an IPS-installed 16.72 kW solar power system, which contributed to the library becoming the first public building in Montana to achieve LEED Silver certification.

Project Highlights

Location: Bozeman, Montana

System Size: 16.72 kW

Est. CO2 Offset: 21,068 lbs/yr

Project Type: Commercial Solar

Client: Bozeman Public Library


On November 12, 2006, the new Bozeman Public Library opened its doors after 18 months of development on a previously contaminated site near Lindley Park on the east end of historic Main Street in downtown Bozeman. For decades prior, the site had been unusable, having been home to a train depot, tannery, and an overabundance of pollution and weeds. Finally, in October 2006, the 53,000-square-foot building was officially completed, including a host of environmentally-friendly design features such as a 16.72 kW solar power system designed and installed by local Bozeman solar company, Independent Power.

The Bozeman Public Library building was designed by the architectural firms Overland Partners and StudioFORMA, who oriented the structure to maximize solar radiation and harvest the ventilation benefits of prevailing winds. These eco-conscious decisions and others, coupled with the merits of cleaning up the contaminated former Milwaukee Railroad property, helped the library achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver level certification. At the time, the Bozeman Public Library was just the fourth Montana building to achieve LEED-certification, and the first public building to do so. The project also earned points for its use of natural light, reduced waste in construction, and utilization of local building materials.

The library’s solar panels are expected to offset 21,068 lbs of carbon each year, contributing a cleaner and greener Bozeman. According to Kath Williams, a local LEED faculty member who volunteered her services on the library project, the library will use “roughly 40 percent less energy than a conventional library of similar size.” This efficiency is thanks, in part, to the solar PV system and an automatic sensor system that regulates interior lighting and the library’s blinds.

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