The Rangeview Library District’s new branch library – Anythink Brighton – is the first carbon-positive library in the United States. With solar panels, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and a gift of carbon-offset credits, the library will save $30,000 a year in energy costs and offset 167,620 pounds of carbon dioxide which is 16% more than it is anticipated to use annually. .. Read more online at the American Libraries Magazine.
COLORADO (one of my favorite states 🙂 now boasts the 2nd Platinum LEED certified library in the US for the Council Tree Library of the Poudre River Public Library District in Fort Collins. LEED certification is granted by the US Green Building Council – 501(c)(3) non-profit community of leaders – which provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built green; i.e. granting points in areas of energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. More points the higher the level earned (from certified, gold, silver to platinum as the highest level) The Council Tree Library received high marks in energy, lighting, water, and material efficiency and cite these statistics:
- 26% lighting energy savings
- 55% water savings
- 92% construction waste recycled
- 85% certified sustainable wood products
- 21% overall recycled content in materials
- 97% Energy Star equipment
- use of natural light
With the UN Climate Summit happening in Copenhagen, 350.org is asking people around the world to start the push to educate and unite on this past weekend of December 12th, with candlelight vigils, marches, and other local action. That’s 350 as in parts per million – the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. The 350.org group was started by author Bill McKibben and includes people from all walks of life and all over the world. Inform your staff, student, patrons etc. about 350.org.
Green IT: Saving Money, Saving the Environment (in higher education)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 2pm, ET
“Technology drives higher education, but unfortunately, it’s also a tremendous drain on the environment. It doesn’t have to be that way. Innovative programs from Alcatel Lucent and Bell Labs are at the forefront of eco-sustainability efforts, providing ways to save money while saving the environment”
I just had to re-post these videos from the Moraine Valley Community College Library’s Green blog. These are green-themed public service announcements created by a speech class on their campus. What a great idea!
- Plant a tree in someone’s name from Arbor Day, Nature Conservancy, or Eco-Libris.
- Make a wish list at a variety of online sites or email it to close friends or family. (rather than give or receive an unwanted gift that will go to waste … or …. see the next item…
- Re-Gifting is NOT a crime! If you do not like a gift you receive keep it in the original packaging and give to someone who would like it. If the gift is valuable, Craigslist is a great way to even make money on the item if you can not return it to the store. If no one would like it then donate it to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or other thrift store to give it one more chance before it goes to the landfill.
- Give the gift of experiences/activities. Buy tickets for plays, concerts, tours or other fun events such as a play, a symphony, a winery tour, cooking, art, or dancing classes, or a visit to a therapeutic specialist ( professional massage is NEVER a bad gift 🙂
- Feed and hydrate your loved ones. Making a pie, baking some cookies, infusing your favorite vodka, or reviving Grandmother’s recipe for those you love is a meaningful and unique gift.
- Seeds: the gift that will continue to keep on giving. Heirloom tomatoes and herb seeds are great gifts that will bear fruit well into the future.
- Honor your loved one with a donation in their name. Heifer Project gives those in need all around the world animals that will give them a hand up. American Red Cross, Animal Shelters,Orphanages and Battered Women Shelters are always in need. Go online and find a reputable charity that will put your money to work helping others.
- Reuse papers to wrap gifts, regular glossy wrapping paper is not recyclable but newspaper and magazines are…. or try old maps (as a former Map Librarian I still have some old maps I can use and reuse as cool wrapping paper)
- Be creative with shipping containers and ways of packing the goodies. Pop corn or balled up newspaper are much better than Styrofoam. If you have Styrofoam then find a way to reuse it in another package. While not recyclable Styrofoam peanuts can be brought to any UPS store where they will gladly take it for reuse.
- Look for fair trade products or items made of recycled materials.
- Sierra Club has more green Christmas tips, Treehugger has a 2009 gift guide, and the Daily Green has a variety of categories to choose from (such as item under $20, Safe green toys, DIY gifts, etc) or check out the Green Depot. I personally love Global Girlfriend – not only fair trade items but made by women.
New additions to this post:
- How about reusing a chip bag for wrapping paper? After proper washing and drying, flip it inside out and the silver paper could be exciting gift wrap.
- Reuse old cards for gift tags: cut out parts of cards that would be a nice gift tag (as long as its blank on the back), punch a hole and you hav a gift tag. I also use fronts of old cards to mail as a post card holiday card. Be creative and make new cards from your old cards too.
- Try using real ribbon or string that can be reused. Can you make your own bow with that real ribbon?
- What about cutting up an old shinny curtain or shirt that could make a nice wrap for a gift or make it into ribbons to wrap your gift?
Building a new library soon? check out this cool site from Rocky Mountain Institute called Green Footstep. It’s an online assessment calculator that guides you through creating a more carbon neutral, low energy building whether it’s a new building or retrofitting. Answer some questions regarding where the building is located, the ecosystem and building characteristic and you will get a report as a result. There is a helpful FAQ section and some case study to peruse. http://www.greenfootstep.org/