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Library Lights Way Toward Sustainable Future

A recent article and Q&A published in Library Journal outlined the steps taken by Louise L. Schaper to make building operations greener and more efficient while she was director of the Fayetteville Public Library (FPL) in Arkansas. According to Schaper, the efficiency measures the library adopted helped lower energy costs by over 20% over a four year period.

Although the FPL became the first building in Arkansas to achieve LEED certification, Schaper said she found that, although the new facility had been designed to create an environmentally sustainable library, their day-to-day operations often belied the organization’s environmental values.

Schaper said practices such as leaving the lights on for off-hours cleaning operations, using disposable dishes and flatware for library events, and using toxic cleaning products were at odds with the organization’s stated goals of operating in a more sustainable fashion.

In her article, Schaper highlights several steps administrators can take to reduce their environmental footprint, including:

  • Working with their facility administrator
  • Hiring cleaning crews trained in green cleaning practices
  • Performing most cleaning during operating hours and reducing off-hours cleaning to infrequent tasks
  • Replacing inefficient light fixtures and lighting controls
  • Replacing PCs with thin clients and using automatic power-down cycles where appropriate
  • Adopting alternative energy solutions

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