Our campus Sustainability Office is promoting a Green Office Certification Program – no reason why any library couldn’t follow these same ideas and procedures as well. We are completing by department in the library since we are a large library. The goal is to help the University work toward carbon neutrality and reaching its sustainability goals. These resources help guide us through the process, and help us rethink what we do, using their ample resources and tools – and you can make it sort of a competition as well to get folks motivated. We all work off this spreadsheet with points given for each item, categorized by area. There are some very good instructions here:
The office provides some great resource guides too. I’m sharing here as I’m sure others could benefit and get ideas for your own library from this list:
Hosted by AASHE and Ball State University the VIII Greening of the Campus Conference and Expo will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sept 20-23, 2009. It will include keynotes, sessions,workshops, products & services, demos, food, bookstore/book signings, etc – check out the schedule. The Registration deadline is sept 14 (no on site registration available)A limited number of reduced-fee student registrations are still available ( contact Peggy Weis at firstname.lastname@example.org)
There are a few ways to be greener at the ALA Conference:
(1) Can you carpool to the conference, take a train, or if you fly rent a hybrid vehicle? You could also purchase carbon offset credits to offset your traveling greenhouse gas emissions. (Visit carbonfund.org)
(2) Can you stay in a green hotel? If not, be green where you are staying. Bring your own supplies and don’t use those small, wasteful plastic bottles. Reuse your towels and sheets instead of asking for clean ones daily. Make sure your lights are turned off in the room. Share a room with others. Drink your morning coffee/tea and water from your personal mug/bottle you brought with you. Check out the green hotel association Web site for more ideas.
(3) Eat at Green Restaurants. Here is a list of certified green places to support. Can you bring your leftovers back to the hotel in your own reusable container to reheat in a microwave for another meal?
(4) Ask you hotel and restaurants how green they are: do they recycle (many restaurants do not!), do they conserve water, do they use compact fluorescent light bulbs, etc. Check out the green hotel association Web site and the going greener restaurant site for more information.. you could even mention these Web sites to the manager of the place.
(5) Attend green sessions while at ALA. See this listing for details.
(6) Read this Green Report (a word doc) from ALA for the Anaheim Convention Center and all hotels who responded to their request.
(7) If you are NOT attending in person (like me!) you can still get information and even participate virtually on many committees, usually not until after the conference has ended. Many folks blog about the sessions they attended or presented. I do wish ALA would mandate a virtual conference side of their regular conference (even at cost – “sign up for the virtual conference”), so we could really virtual watch, read, participate or simply access the information w/o being there in person… anyone know if that is officially in the works?
Are you building or remolding your library? Check out Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. It’s a “third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.” (LEED Rating System Info) LEED looks at 5 areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
For new construction check out LEED for New Construction. There are 4 levels: certified, silver, gold, platinum (levels are according to how many points you are awarded for meeting criteria in design, operations, construction and management). There is also specific LEED Certification for K-12 school (which can included higher ed)
Why LEED? There are environmental and financial benefits to getting certified green building (from LEED certification site):
- Lower operating costs and increased asset value.
- Reduce waste sent to landfills.
- Conserve energy and water.
- Healthier and safer for occupants.
- Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
- Demonstrate an owner’s commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
Read this article/study which shows LEED Buildings Outperform Peers for more info. The US Green Building Council Web site also provides many resources, details, templates, guides, and tools that would be a great help when considering LEED certification.
You also don’t have to be constructing a new building to go green. Here is an article on how to take existing buildings and transform them into LEED for Existing Buildings Certification (for Operations and Maintenance).
Check out this article on Lifehacker.com for tips on greening your computer – “Easy Ways to Go Green with Your Computer.” Here is the summary:
The article first discusses how to hibernate your computer (rather than putting it to “sleep”) saying this uses less power. If you use BitTorrent, download large files, or work remotely this might not be appealing but this article also discusses options such as setting your computer to shut down when the download is complete or using other programs like WinOFF (shuts down after set amount of time) or Wake-on-LAN’s (restart your computer remotely) Try Smart Sleep for MAC.
The second point in the article is on saving paper when printing, listing easy ideas like printing duplex, printing to PDF, preview before printing, and not just printing several copies of an email or Web page to share with others. Firefox offers a n extension Aardvark which helps you tweak your page to print only what you need and how you want it. The article also mentions GreenPrint (which I blogged about previously).
The third and forth points are on good energy use. Turn off any peripherals you don’t need at the time. Realize many peripherals draw power even when off if they are still plugged in the wall outlet, so either unplug, use a power strip and turn it off, or use a smart power strip (one that will monitor your PC’s power state and automatically shut down other peripherals). Also think about downloading a program such as LocalCooling (free!) to monitor and tweak your power usage.
I just discovered a Web site called Swaptree.com. It’s a FREE place where you can list, trade, swap, and choose books, DVDs, CDs, and video games. From reading the FAQs, it appears Swaptree really is free and easy. You add your items (UPC or ISBN), let their algorithm determine the trade, then print the mailing label (you dont pay for the mail costs either), and then choose what you want in return for the trade. Wonder if this is worth checking out for libraries? A great thing for a student worker or quality volunteer to look into for you. Perhaps you can get other items for you library in return (such as that CD or DVD the library once own that got scratched or lost by your customers?)
Earth Day is this Tuesday April 22. If your library is doing any Earth Day related event be sure to submit the information to the Earth Day Network Web site (you have to register to submit an event). You can also find events that are in your local area – search by city or location. Find more information on other events, donate to the cause, or discover other ways to be active on the Earth Day Network Web site.