Vending Machines

Do you have vending machines in your library? Vending machines run very inefficiently. You can possibly cut your energy cost in half by looking into Vending Miser. Vending Miser is a sensing device that shuts down the cooling function after a set amount of time – especially great for overnight or holidays.  Check out this PDF from Tufts University on the issue.  Many local electric utility companies will actually install this device free of charge or provide rebates so check that out locally.  Otherwise, the cost is about $150-$200, which you will get back in energy savings in about 1-2 years. For pricing and sales visit this Web page.

Washington State University has a great Web page discussing this idea, with links and stats, proving the favorable results the City of Portland has discovered from installing this device in many locations. Seattle also offers some first hand results. Check locally to see if this is happening in your town.

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Bike Sharing Programs

Many cities in Europe already have bike sharing programs in place. Some cities (like Paris) offer free bikes funded via advertising and others are paid for with taxpayer money (London). These programs offer many of these sturdy, “granny type” bikes with baskets and many stations installed in former parking spots. Unappealing as they sound, they are more a tool for transportation and curb the idea of stealing.

The US is finally offering this type of program such as the one Washington DC: the SmartBike DC Program. This is a fully automated touch-and-go rental program with 120 bicycles at 10 locations throughout the city center, supported by Clear Channel Outdoor and the District Dept of Transportation. Subscribers will receive a personalized SmartBike DC user card that provides access to any station of the program at any time.

bike station

Maybe your city will offer this type of service soon and the library can be a part of it by supporting the idea and offering a station outside the library building!

Try Planting More Trees

Tress can add great benefits to your library and/or school property. They provide shade which can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and can save 20 – 50% in energy used for heating (from GreenStrides). They offer a beautiful, welcoming environment which studies have shown can reduce blood pressure and muscle tension for your employees and customers. Trees also contribute benefits such as less runoff and erosion, prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams, and fight global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen.

The Arbor Day Foundation sells Grow Your Own Tree Activity Kits perfect for elementary school age children. Public librarians could consider this activity as a summer program for the community kids to get involved in the library and plant tress in the process. School librarians could think about this idea in collaboration with a science teacher/class.

The Arbor Day Foundation also offers a Gift Tree Program to raise money for a school or community organization. Your school or Friends of the Library could look into this idea for a a “green” fundraising project!

Renting a hybrid

When traveling for work to a conference or meeting out of town, why not consider cutting down on your carbon footprint by taking only public transportation (bus/trains/metro are available in most large cities) or renting a hybrid vehicle to get around town. More and more rental car companies (such as Avis, Budget, etc.)  have hybrid vehicles as rental options. Enterprise/Alamo/National also offer a carbon offset program for $1.25/day that goes toward certified offset projects that work to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. In many large cities, there are options for hybrid taxis and limos as well.  Do a search in google for your city and “hybrid taxi” or “hybrid limo” and many options appear.