“Sustainability is defined by a community’s ability to meet the environmental, economic, and social equity needs of today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.  Sustainable Dubuque is a holistic approach to making our community sustainable.”

The Sustainable Dubuque model involves a three-part approach that addresses:

  • Environmental and Ecological Integrity
  • Economic Prosperity
  • Social and Cultural Vibrancy

Each of these pieces is important individually and helps contribute to a sustainable community.  The Carnegie-Stout Public Library embraces the full range of sustainable practices, which are set by policy in the following areas:

  • Waste Reduction Policy — goes beyond commitment to recycle and covers how we will handle hazardous materials such as old light bulbs that contain mercury.  This also covers what steps we take to avoid sending items to the landfill, such as donating computers and participating in a program that advertises equipment or furniture no longer needed to organizations statewide.

  • Green Cleaning Policy – outlines the specifications of products that are acceptable to use in cleaning products and equipment.

LEED Certification

Carnegie-Stout Public Library was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in the Existing Building category at the silver level in 2012.  LEED is a non-profit national program that provides third-party verification of green buildings.  Carnegie-Stout is the first public library in the United States to earn LEED-EB distinction while also maintaining its status on the National Register of Historic Places.


Carnegie-Stout Public Library earned Petal Project Green Business Certification in 2014.  Petal Project certification provides a framework for organizations dedicated to reducing their energy, water, and natural resource use to benefit the environment and their bottom line.


All carpeting in the Library is made from recycled materials. 


Some countertops made from sunflowers. 

Natural light floods the Library. During the Library’s renovation (2008-2010) 45 windows and two skylights were reopened.



 Traditional paint contains volatile organic compounds (VOC) that have been linked to cancer.  These chemicals readily vaporize in air, react with other elements, and can cause health problems.   Although most of the harmful VOC levels are present during and just following the application of paint, they will continue to seep out for several years.  All paint used in the Library is low, or no, VOC.  


The exterior landscaping uses a “xeriscape” design in which little supplemental water is required for the plants. The plants have deep roots, making them well-suited to dry summers, as rain levels can be variable in this area.