A “green” library

Explaining to library users how solar power works

Building materials:

  • All large-diameter wood used is recycled timber, pillars and doors from nearby abandoned farm buildings or from houses damaged by an earthquake that shook Masaya, Nicaragua in 2002.
  • Principal wall material is brick fabricated in La Paz Centro, 50 km away
  • No pesticides needed to treat wood because all new and recycled wood is naturally resistant to termites and powder-post beetles
  • Roofing is a combination of fiber cement sheets and clay tiles made in La Paz Centro

Energy use:

  • Solar panels supplement power from the traditional grid
  • With vaulted ceilings and strong cross-ventilation, the building stays cool without fans or A.C.
  • No lightbulbs needed during the day, thanks to skylights and large windows oriented east-west
  • Users and staff live close enough to walk or ride in on a motorcycle


Water use:

  • The roof helps capture rainwater during the rainy season and stores it in a large tank. The stored water is gravity-fed to our gardens and used to clean the building.
  • Toilets are water-less latrines

Grounds and gardens:

  • Native tree species were planted to reduce erosion from the steep slope below the library building
  • The wooded grounds and gardens connect the library with the forested El Nisperal Private Reserve, home to howler monkeys and 120 species of birds, including thirty migratory species.
Biblioteca November 2015

December 2015 photograph of the RBG library building, with garden comprised of native, water-efficient flowers and vegetation. “Water bar” and footpath help control erosion on the library’s steep slope.