In the foothills of the White Tank Mountains near Waddell, Arizona, sitting among the cacti and sagebrush, is the White Tank Library and Nature Center, the first LEED Platinum-certified library in Arizona and the fourth in the country. Responsive to the extremely hot and thunderstorm-ridden climate, the DWL Architects-designed building has a solar array on its roof that, in coordination with insulation, light sensors, shading, and reflective roofing, increases the building’s energy efficiency. Read more below.

Exterior of the library entrance at dusk. Above the angled overhang, solar panels generate electricity for the remote building. Photo: Bill Timmerman.

The 35,000 books in the library are not the building’s only contents—making up the nature center in the southeast portion of the building are an information center and an animal habitat room with snakes, gila monsters, rodents, and other native animals. Just steps from the nature center is a trailhead linking visitors to 25 miles of hiking trails that take them through the Arizona landscape.

The library’s outdoor seating area. The building is also a nature center and the starting point for a number of hiking trails. Photo: Bill Timmerman

The dynamic and daylit reading room. Photo: Bill Timmerman

Entry from within. The building is the first LEED Platinum library in Arizona. Photo: Bill Timmerman