How much paper does a library go through in a typical day? A lot. Between materials printed and photocopied by patrons, interlibrary loan articles, signage, forms, memos, and so on, it really adds up. If your institution is like most, your copiers and printers are set to single-sided by default. Change this today. I’m serious. There’s very little paper generated in a library that needs to be presentation quality, so two sided works fine for most purposes. And it’s easiest to act sustainably when it doesn’t involve actually thinking about it—so make the two-sided printing default, and make it be a conscious decision to print one-sided instead. If your printers or copiers aren’t equipped to handle two-sided printing, then make that capability a priority when it comes time to replace them. Print management systems—how many of you already have them in place? This is a great way to eliminate wasteful, duplicate or irresponsible printing. Patron sends print job to the system, but it’s not actually printed until they release it at the print release station. They can review how many pages it is, and if you charge for prints how much it will cost them. No more accidentally printing out 70-page documents when you only needed a 4-page section out of it. The systems also log activity, so you can use that data to better analyze your needs. I’ll have more to say about resource sharing later, but obviously if you can send electronic versions of documents, that’s paper you don’t have to use. Likewise on the receiving end, if you can deliver electronic versions to your end-users, that’s more paper saved. Some of them will print the documents out, but a good number will be happy to use the electronic version only. (Careful though—not all resources’ license language allows you to do ILL without printing a hard copy.) In general, think about all the business you transact on paper: patrons applying for a library card? Change of contact information? ILL request? Signup for workstations, or for programs? That’s just a sample of the forms patrons might fill out. Migrate these to online web forms and rethink your workflows so that you operate directly from the data entered rather than from paper forms. When the patrons are entering information online, they’re directly populating databases which you can then use for report generation and the like as well, without having to do the data entry yourself. Similar for any documentation or forms required for internal use. Employee handbooks, procedures and policies manuals—instead of printing them out and putting one in a binder for each employee never to look at again, have them available as PDFs on the network—or as a wiki on the intranet even, so that it can be changed and updated easily—another advantage over the paper version. And when you have announcements, event schedules, publisher catalogs, etc to distribute, route one copy around rather than making a copy for each recipient. And if you can send it electronically, do that instead. A lot of times the publishers will send multiple catalogs to each selector. If you’re routing them around, you can contact the publishers and have them remove all but one copy from their mailing lists. Bringing less paper in the door means fewer trees used for raw materials.
Speaking of paper, you’re going to want to use recycled. There’s still a persistent misconception that recycled paper is of lower quality than that made from virgin raw materials; it’s not true. A 1999 study from the GPO indicates that paper with 30% post-consumer recycled content performs as well in printers and copiers as virgin paper, or paper with 20% recycled content. (Specifically, the 30% paper caused 3.2 jams per 100,000 sheets, while virgin paper jammed 2.9 times per 100,000 sheets.) And it’s also worth mentioning that you don’t have to automatically buy new furniture and equipment. If you’re associated with a university, city or county government, or large company, you probably have access to some sort of central reclamation facility where you can look through the things that other departments or agencies are getting rid of… oftentimes these things are perfectly serviceable, but no longer suit the needs of whoever is giving them up. Check in regularly to see what’s available. If you don’t have access to some sort of central reclamation, you can try services like freecycle.org—but their participants tend to be private individuals, so you may find less workplace equipment there. On the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle trio that we’re all familiar with, Reuse comes before Recycle because of the concept of “embedded energy” or “embodied energy.” This is the idea that it takes a certain amount of energy (& generates corresponding amounts of waste, pollution, etc) to manufacture a thing in the first place, transport it to where it’ll be used, and so on. The longer any manufactured thing can remain in use, the longer it is before you need to use up another chunk of energy manufacturing its replacement. Reusing contrasts with recycling, in that when you make a new item out of recycled materials, you’re “saving a tree” (or a batch of iron ore, or whatever) by not using virgin materials—but you’re still using that energy to create the new item. The other side of this is participating in the reclamation/reuse process on the other end as well. Donate any serviceable (or reparable) equipment to your reclamation center or put it up on offer on freecycle.
B-Logistics is a company that takes your discards (books, movies, music, games, what have you) and offers them for sale on a bunch of different e-commerce sites (eBay, half.com, B&N, Amazon, etc.). They handle all the logistics, inventory control and such, take a cut of the proceeds and send the rest of the money to you. Books that don’t sell are donated or recycled into cellulose insulation material. LYRASIS offers member referrals to B-Logistics for special deals; you can visit our web site or contact LYRASIS Member Services for details. Better World Books works on a similar model, but instead of sending the money back to you they partner with non-profit organizations promoting literacy worldwide. In addition to donating money to these nonprofits, they help with direct donation of appropriate materials and with organizing book drives. Every donated item is put to best use—some are donated directly to the nonprofits, others are sold or recycled.
If your library’s lighting system dates from the 1980’s or before, chances are good that your fluorescents are the type known as T12 lamps. While these (or any fluorescents) are more efficient than incandescent lamps, the state of the art has advanced significantly in the last 30 years as you might expect. You may not be able to refit all your lighting fixtures to take the new T5 lamps, but you can at least change out your T12s for T8s and still realize a good deal of savings. A typical T12 fixture with 4 tubes and magnetic ballasts uses about 148 watts; replacing the ballasts with high-efficiency electronic ballasts and the lamps with T8 tubes can bring the power consumption down as much as 43% (to 64 watts) with a 3% reduction in overall light levels—compensated for by an improved color spectrum and reduced flicker, so you’ll likely see better anyway. (Resource list links to a retrofit savings calculator [seems to work best on IE, not Fx], takes into account price of electricity, cost of materials and labor for replacement—calculate time required to recoup your investment.) Exit signs are supposed to be lit all the time; these are ideal places to put LED bulbs. Relatively high initial costs, but also extremely high savings: reduce from 15-20 watt incandescents to 1.5 watts of LED light. Operating 24 hours a day, a $20 replacement light will pay for itself in about 6 months; and LEDs are long-lasting—the most conservative life expectancy claim I’ve seen was 12 years, most claim 25 years.
Encourage staff and patrons to let in daylight (not direct sunlight) by opening blinds or shades as appropriate to the time of day. While we need 30-50 foot-candles of light at the task plane (reading surface) we can get away with a good deal less general ambient light. If you already have task lighting, use it; make it available in your public areas and you’ll be able to reduce your general lighting. Clean and dust ceilings and walls that serve as reflective surfaces and you might be surprised at how much difference it makes in your overall light level.
Most organizations and facilities work in a reactive mode when it comes to maintaining their HVAC equipment. It’s out of sight, out of mind until something breaks down. Getting into a proactive maintenance mode can really help out here. It’s tough, because HVAC is not sexy and there are a million other things competing for the necessary resources. But a properly maintained HVAC system can result in 15-20% greater energy efficiency. Given that the HVAC system is itself responsible for up to 40% of a building’s energy use, that can add up to a total savings of 8% right there. Proper inspection and maintenance of your HVAC system will also significantly affect indoor air quality. Correcting humidity imbalances can prevent mold growth. Clean ducts obviously means less dust kicked up around the system too. Get a certified contractor to give your system a going-over and tune up or repair whatever needs fixing, but your in-house maintenance staff should also make it a habit to do those regular inspections and adjustments that they are qualified to do.
You can invest in all the energy-efficient systems and equipment you want, but in fact one of the most efficient moves you can make is to turn off the equipment you have when you don’t need it. I’ve already mentioned daylighting in relation to energy-efficient light, but I’ll reiterate it here—light from outside is free, non-polluting and can really drive down the energy demand. It’s not practical to have someone going around turning off all the lights all the time, but you can install occupancy sensors for areas that aren’t in need of constant illumination. These take several forms—the most common are motion detectors, but they also make heat sensors that register infrared at body temperature. You can install them in meeting rooms, hallways, even in aisles in the stacks if your lighting circuits are flexible enough. Phantom power is energy consumed while the equipment is in standby mode. Essentially, this is the equipment mostly powered down, but running just enough of a trickle to sense whether someone’s pushing any buttons or sending a signal it needs to respond to. It’s estimated that in homes, this makes up as much as 10% of the power consumed (I haven’t seen figures for libraries). Different approaches to dealing with phantom power drain: -Manage power settings on computer equipment to go to sleep, shut down power to the hard drive, blank and power down the display screen rather than running a screensaver. -Smart power strips are good for batches of equipment that are used together, like a TV, VCR, DVD, and sound system, or a computer, monitor, printer and speakers. You’re never going to be using the monitor or speakers, etc. when the computer is turned off, so you can hook use a smart power strip to control them. There’s one control circuit (blue on this one) where you’ll plug in the main thing, like the computer. Then the other circuits (white) will only receive power when the machine on the control circuit is turned on. There are sometimes some always-on hot circuits (red) for equipment that you may need to have on all the time. -All those power converters and chargers for your cell phones, iPods etc? They’re also drawing power all the time, whether the thing they’re powering is on or not. (The black boxes that get warm—that’s the power they’re using.) Be aware of this, and unplug them or switch off their power supply when they’re not actively in use.
This is all about the embodied energy again. It’d be great if everyone drove fuel-efficient vehicles, but if everyone went out today and bought one, that’d be terrible. The waste involved in not using a new or nearly-new vehicle to its full potential, the hazardous and non-degradable materials sent to the landfill all compound the problem. All the energy that went into making everything you use—you want to milk that for all it’s worth. And keep the old equipment out of landfill as long as possible. These are some ways to make sure that happens.
You can encourage alternative transportation in a lot of ways. Having ample, safe, well-lit bike rack space is one. Reserve some of the best parking spaces for high-efficiency, low-emissions vehicles, or carpools. (sign: Marshalltown IA public library) The folks who travel to your library the most often are of course the employees, so whatever improvements you can work with them are going to count for the most—they’ll be doing them every day. Administration should make a visible commitment to promoting alternative transit. If you live in an area with good public transit, consider subsidizing passes for employees. Commuter Checks is a system that lets an employer subsidize up to 40% of an employee’s transit costs, and save on payroll taxes at the same time. The library can also play an active role in coordinating ride shares and carpools for employees. Sometimes people are reluctant to carpool because they worry about what will happen if they have a family emergency and need to leave suddenly; one creative solution to this is to offer taxi vouchers or the use of a fleet vehicle to carpoolers if something comes up. If you have some way of providing showering and changing facilities, this can help promote your staff walking or biking to work. If there’s no way you can provide this on site, see if you can negotiate a relationship with a nearby health club or other organization that does provide showers.
If your library doesn’t have awnings, mats and walk-off areas at your building entrance, that means your staff and patrons are tracking in stuff from the outside, and that means you’ll have more cleaning to do—with more and stronger solvents, more water use, and more dirty water released. So look at your entrances and make sure there’s adequate mats to trap dirt there and keep it from getting further inside. Use safe, non-toxic, biodegradable formulations for your cleaning products. Green Seal is an organization that certifies consumer products, including cleaning products, according to science-based standards for environmental responsibility. Work with your janitorial staff to ensure that they choose appropriate products and use them correctly.
A thorough study in 2009 looked at the environmental impact of various ILL practices and came up with some interesting data and recommendations for best practices. First, and no surprise, is that sending an article electronically rather than printing/copying and faxing saves a lot of paper. Some electronic resource license agreements don’t allow you to do this, so be careful—but consider also negotiating this point when entering into license agreements in the first place. Also look at your workflows. Are you printing out requests, pick slips, etc. when you could avoid it? Some libraries manage to re-use the pick slip as a book band, print packaging and return instructions on the band, and print return paperwork and mailing labels on the same page as well, reducing the average paperwork generated per loaned book by about 2/3. Regional and state consortia offer advantages in that materials don’t have to travel as far (reducing fuel consumption), they usually use reusable shipping containers, and items tend to be sent in batches for increased efficiency. (The more you can batch your shipments, the better it is.) One surprise was that using new packaging accounted for about 55% of the environmental footprint of ILL at institutions that used all-new packaging. Reusing packaging can therefore cut your impact dramatically. You’ll have to store the old packaging while waiting to reuse it, so there’s that tradeoff, but you’ll reduce your storage needs for new packaging at the same time. Another discovery was that jiffy bags were a lower-impact form of packaging than cardboard boxes: lower embodied energy, plus they made for more space-efficient packing in transport vehicles. One thing you should definitely do is stop using packing peanuts. They’re non-biodegradable and nasty. Use right-sized packaging instead, and if you absolutely need extra protection, use shredded or crumpled paper.
EPEAT (&quot;Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool“) is a procurement tool to help evaluate, compare and select electronic products (currently desktop and notebook/laptop computers and monitors) based on their environmental attributes. They have a list of 23 required criteria and 28 optional ones in the areas of Reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials; Materials selection; End-of-life design; Product longevity; Energy conservation; End-of-life management; Corporate performance; and Packaging. Manufacturers declare which of the criteria a product meets (it’s subject to testing independently) and get a seal based on how many of the criteria it meets—Bronze for all the required criteria, Silver for also meeting half the optional ones, and Gold for 75% of the optional criteria.
By now we’re all familiar with the canonical three Rs of sustainability: Reduce Reuse Recycle. The librarians at the Eccles Health Sciences Library came up with a more comprehensive list of six R’s:
RETHINK: Form a discussion group to reevaluate library practices. REDUCE: Cut down, cut back, eliminate unnecessary purchases. REUSE: Use resources that are currently owned, rather than purchasing new resources. RECYCLE: Negotiate a contract to recycle materials. REPURCHASE/RECOVER: Purchase used or recycled products. REJOICE: Celebrate your successes!
Green ops 15 ways
Green Your Operations Fifteen Ways
What’s this all about? <ul><li>We all want to go green </li></ul><ul><li>We can’t all build fancy new green buildings </li></ul><ul><li>But we can be sustainable in our operations! </li></ul><ul><li>15 areas for improvement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Probably are doing some already </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probably can’t do others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But you can do something! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>http://delicious.com/eduserv/green_ops </li></ul>
1: Conduct a waste stream audit <ul><li>Ask yourself: </li></ul><ul><li>What are we throwing out? </li></ul><ul><li>How much of it? </li></ul><ul><li>Where is it coming from? </li></ul><ul><li>Then ask: </li></ul><ul><li>Where can it go besides the landfill? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we generate less to start with? </li></ul>
2: Use less paper <ul><li>Double sided prints/copies </li></ul><ul><li>Print management systems </li></ul><ul><li>Digital document delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Migrate forms online </li></ul><ul><li>E-versions of employee manuals & docs </li></ul><ul><li>Route one copy—or no copies! </li></ul><ul><li>Get multiple catalog mailings reduced to a single copy </li></ul>
3: Recycled and reused materials <ul><li>Recycled paper </li></ul><ul><ul><li>30% recycled works as well as new paper </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reused or reclaimed materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Furniture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Office equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to offer your own stuff for others to reuse! </li></ul>
4: Green your break room <ul><li>Encourage brown-bagging </li></ul><ul><li>Get rid of disposable dishes, cups, flatware </li></ul><ul><li>Serve fruit, not packaged snacks </li></ul><ul><li>Lose the bottled water </li></ul><ul><li>Clean the microwave </li></ul>
5: Greener weeding <ul><li>Book sales </li></ul><ul><li>Donate locally </li></ul><ul><li>Send your discards to be reused </li></ul><ul><ul><li>B-Logistics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better World Books </li></ul></ul>
6: Energy Efficient Lighting <ul><li>Replace older T12 fluorescent lamps with T8 lamps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>And magnetic ballasts with high-efficiency ones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>35 - 43% energy reduction at similar light levels </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Convert exit signs to LEDs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>90 - 92% energy reduction </li></ul></ul>
6: Energy Efficient Lighting <ul><li>More ideas: </li></ul><ul><li>Open the blinds to let in daylight </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce overall light levels, supplement at task planes </li></ul><ul><li>Dust the ceilings – a bright ceiling reflects more light </li></ul>
7: Give your HVAC some TLC <ul><li>Proactive HVAC maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce your building’s total energy use by up to 8% </li></ul><ul><li>Improve indoor air quality </li></ul><ul><li>Contractors for major repairs and overhauls </li></ul><ul><li>In-house maintenance on an ongoing, regular basis </li></ul>
8: Turn it off <ul><li>Use natural daylighting when possible </li></ul><ul><li>Occupancy sensors for less-used spaces </li></ul><ul><li>Exorcise the “phantom” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Set screens to go blank (not to a screensaver) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use smart power strips </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unplug chargers and converters when not in use </li></ul></ul>
9. Drive it into the ground <ul><li>Purchase high-quality equipment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher up-front costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Save money down the road </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maintain your equipment, furniture, vehicles, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Defer new purchases by extending lifetimes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Update and upgrade </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure it will meet user demands though </li></ul></ul>
10. Alternative transportation <ul><li>Preferential parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, carpools </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage employees to carpool, bike, take public transit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subsidize/offer incentives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coordinate rideshares </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Showering/changing facilities for staff? </li></ul></ul>
11. Don’t forget telecommuting! <ul><li>What workflows don’t require actual in-house presence? </li></ul><ul><li>Draw up telework policies, employee agreements </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings too! </li></ul><ul><li>Need infrastructure in place </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Equipment: employee’s or library’s? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connectivity at home (subsidized?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secure file access, e-meeting software, etc. </li></ul></ul>
12. Clean greener <ul><li>Walk-off mats work! </li></ul><ul><li>Use non-toxic formulas </li></ul><ul><li>Green Seal products </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coordinate with your janitorial contractor </li></ul></ul>
13. Greener ILL <ul><li>Scan and send electronically when possible </li></ul><ul><li>Participate in local/regional consortia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nearby sources are better than remote </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local couriers supplying reusable shipping bags/bins </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reuse packaging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New packaging accounts for >50% of environmental impact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Padded bags are better than cardboard </li></ul></ul>
14. Greener IT <ul><li>EPEAT system for equipment selection </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Materials selection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design for end-of-life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product longevity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy conservation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>End-of-life management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Packaging </li></ul></ul>
15. Tell your patrons! <ul><li>Develop an eco-collection </li></ul><ul><li>Promote the library as a green institution </li></ul><ul><li>Offer green themed programs and events </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bring in local activists and experts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Turn your landscape into an interpretive center </li></ul>
The 3 R’s? <ul><li>Reduce </li></ul><ul><li>Reuse </li></ul><ul><li>Recycle </li></ul>