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Green Libraries: Getting Started

Green Libraries: Getting Started


I’m going to give people just another couple
of minutes or another minute or so to log on and I’ll go ahead and get my slideshow
started… OK. As I said I’m Executive Director of the Great
Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. Thank you for joining us this afternoon, or
this morning if you’re joining us from the West Coast. Just some housekeeping details before we get
going… presentation slides are available for download on the roundtable website at
www.GLRPPR.org on the Meetings page, so if you go to the main page and click on Meetings
and Webinars, and then there’s a link to webinars at the top of that page and if you click there
on that link, it’ll take you to the Webinar archive page. I’d also like to remind everyone about our
upcoming November 18th webinar. Lynn Rubenstein will be providing an overview
of state electronics challenge. That challenge is open to public entities
including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and nonprofit organizations. Today I will also be your speaker, as I said. I’ll give you a little bit of information
about me before we get going. I earned my master’s in Library and Information
Science from the University of Illinois and have over 20 years of experience as an environmental
librarian at The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. At ISTC, we focus on pollution prevention,
process engineering, and emerging environmental technologies. I have also been GLRPPR’s Executive Director
for two years and have been involved with the organization during my entire tenure at
ISTC. If you have questions during the presentation,
please submit them using the Questions pane on the GoToWebinar in our control panel, there
are several places during the presentation where I will pause to take questions and comments. And with that, we’ll get going. So first of all, just to make sure that we’re
on the same page, I think it would be a good idea to define sustainability, it’s a very
popular word but can sometimes be kind of confusing. So I like to think of sustainability as the
intersection of practices that are economically viable, environmentally-friendly, and socially
acceptable. It’s also known as the triple bottom line. There are lots of other ways to illustrate
it, but I think this one makes sense. So basically what you want to do is to make
sure that your practices to be sustainable are at the center of that little Boolean diagram
there. So why is sustainability important? Well, whether you believe in climate change
or not, you know whether it’s occurring, you know we get– by being more sustainable, we
get livable cities, we get air we can breathe, we get water we can drink. You know, we’re creating a better future for
our kids. You know, we’re making the world a better
place. So the bottom line really for me is stewardship. Also something to keep in mind is that pollution
is, according to Buckminster Fuller, nothing but resources we’re not harvesting, we allow
them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value, and I mean, that’s the basic
tenet of pollution prevention is that pollution is wasteful, and it’s not efficient, and from
a business perspective, when I teach this content to businesses, I mean, it’s about,
you know, about doing business more efficiently, and I think that’s something that resonates
with librarians also. So, before you can get started with sustainability,
you really need to make sure that your organization’s decision-makers are on board, that sustainability
is already a part of your organizational culture that should be an easy sell because they’re
already doing it. If it isn’t, you need to decide if you want
to try to make sustainability a part of the whole community, campus, or organizational
culture, and the reason I’m equivocating is because I know that there are public librarians,
academic librarians, and special librarians on the call today. So choose whichever word makes the most sense
to you, or if you want the library to lead by example, and I’ll talk particularly about
public libraries at the end of this talk, and how they can be sustainability leaders
within their community. So senior level buy-in is important. Why is it important? Because they set the tone for the whole organization,
whether you work for a company, a nonprofit, or a public library, there’s a senior person
or a board that you report to, you know, if you’re the director, you’re still responsible
to your library board if you’re a public librarian. Or if you’re the director of a college library,
you’re responsible to higher-ups in the administration. In order for sustainability to truly become
a part of your organization, you need to get buy-in from those people, and, like I said,
that’s for the organization as a whole. Why senior managers set the tone for the organization-
they make things happen. If something is important to them, it automatically
becomes important to everybody. Their actions happen both overtly and behind
the scenes, so we’ve all had managers or higher-ups that say one thing in public, and do something
else in a meeting with their senior managers. You know, you’ve got to be aware of both of
those facets. Overt actions include allocation of resources,
unstated behind-the-scenes priorities drive long-term decisions, though, so if you have
a manager or a president, a university president, or a director who’s saying,” Yes, sustainability
is great!”, but they’re not willing to give you money or people to make it happen, then
they’re probably not on-board. So senior management attention is often hard
to get because senior managers are generally crisis-driven, this is true in business, and
it’s also true in nonprofit organizations, libraries, and universities. The amount of senior management attention
available to any single effort, such as sustainability, is often small, that’s why they’re senior
managers and they have people working under them to be concerned with the day-to-day. Return on investment isn’t always easy to
calculate and particularly in the business world, this is really important, but, I mean,
even if you’re a public entity, you’re still stewarding the public’s dollars, and it’s
difficult to get commitment when the results are unclear, you know, from a business perspective,
if you can show that a particular process change is going to actually save the company
money within a year, or six months- six months is better- that’s a pretty easy sell. It’s a harder sell if it’s seen as, well,
that we can use this as, you know, as public good, I think that’s maybe a little bit easier
sell in the nonprofit university community, but not always. Senior management often doesn’t have a clearly-defined
role in process management, you know, they’re not the people doing the day-to-day work generally,
they’re not the people in the trenches, so that can make it difficult for them to understand
why it’s important to change a process, whatever that process is. And change is often scary for senior managers,
change is really scary for everybody, and we’ll talk a little bit more about employee
engagement in a little bit, but corporate culture often teaches skills particularly
for managers in face-saving and sidestepping, failure is seen as a bad thing. Needed change can be embarrassing or threatening,
so some managers learn to sidestep and delay, in order to save-face. I’m sure we’ve all had managers like that,
I know I have. They can be convinced if you get their attention. In, like, again, in the business world, you
know waste is a defect, so if you’ve got an organization that’s committed to the total
quality management principles, you know, that can be a selling point. The other argument is that waste is costing
you money, if you can figure out, you know, how much your energy use or your water use
would decline, if you implemented a particular project, and that saves them money, that gets
their attention. So leading into that, show the return on investment,
waste is costly, cost of waste is generally underestimated. Allocating costs to particular departments,
rather than the ever-so-popular overhead, places charges for waste with the business
units responsible for that waste. For example, the University of Illinois, oh,
it’s been four or five years ago now, maybe a little longer than that, changed the way
that they build energy use on campus, instead of just having it be an overall campus cost,
they started billing the departments based on space allocations, and divvied it up that
way, and that changed the way a lot of departments did business, including the library, so that’s
something to keep in mind. Convince them that they have a clearly defined
role. You know, eliminating waste is resource-efficient,
clearly, but if you can get your senior management to be your cheerleaders, both in word and
deed, that’s a really powerful thing to have, but you have to explain to them how they can
do that. Make the change less scary, you know, show
them what it’s costing them to do business-as-usual, that’s what the University did with the energy
use. You know, the cost of business-as-usual, you’re
ignoring continuous improvement innovation opportunities, you’re lowering your competitive
advantage, which is important in business, that can also, as we run universities and
public institutions more like businesses, that could also be used. Potential liability is also a concern, and
that’s not just a business concern, because, you know, public entities, like libraries,
have to comply with health and safety regulations, so reducing, you know, the toxins that you’re
using in your building when it comes to cleaners and other chemicals, that lowers your public
environmental compliance costs, it may also lower worker compensation costs. There are also public relations costs, you
know, it’s really obvious when a business does something that damages the environment,
you know, if there’s a big spill or something like that, but even, I mean, even for public
entities there’s a cost, and, especially if you’re talking about efficiency and stewardship
of tax dollars, I think that that’s part of the cost is, you know, you need to show that
you’re good stewards of the public’s money. And then you can address potential hurdles,
that also makes the change less scary, and then compare direct and indirect costs of
current practices versus the direct and indirect costs if improvements are made. So you know they’re committed when they establish
a common vision of an improved organization, encourage other managers to take the process
seriously, support the group in word and deed, that means they don’t just say it, they give
you people and they give you money, if you need money to do that, and they give you the
authority to make changes. Again, provide resources, and then actively
address organizational incompetence, so they don’t let others get away with sidestepping
or saying,” Ahh, I don’t know, we tried that 10 years ago, I don’t think that’s gonna work,”
they encourage experimentation, and understand that not every project is going to be 100
percent successful, you know, make it OK, make it a safe place to fail and learn from
the experience. They reward innovation, and then, again, turn
failures into learning experiences, because a failure is only a failure if you don’t learn
something from it. You also need to engage employees and there
are four stages of engagement when it comes to, well, engaging anybody, but in this case
we’re talking about employees. Awareness, first of all, you need to make
them aware of the problem, and then you need to have them make a connection to their personal
lives or their jobs, so you need to have a solid vision and strategy in order to convince
people to make the changes, and you need to use multiple communication channels, you can
use signage, you can, you know, just have advocates, we’re gonna talk about Green Teams
in a few minutes, but, you know, have advocates talking about the process or the changes and
why they’re important, things like that. So then once you get them to connection, then
you need to move them to commitment, and one of the really good ways to do that is to meet
people where they are, to increase awareness and understanding of sustainability, not everybody
is going to be ready to stop driving their cars to work and use bikes or buses, and always
bring their lunch reusable containers, that’s just, I mean, there’s a continuum, and you’re
going to probably have some people who no matter what you do are not going to engage. But, if you can get them to move slowly up
that continuum, you’re much better off. Make connections between actions at home and
work, for example, would you leave your lights on all day at home? I bet a lot of people wouldn’t, unless they
have kids, because kids seem just unable to turn that light switch off, but the understanding
at home is that leaving the lights on all day costs them money. You know, if you leave the lights on in your
office, or in conference rooms, or whatever all day, when people aren’t using them, that
costs your institution money, and that’s money that you can use for other things, like materials,
personnel, stuff like that, it all adds up. Another thing you can do is share best practices,
you know, I mean if, you know, if there are ways that you can get people to actually do
the things you want them to do, you know, try those things out. So, the next thing, then, the final phase
is moving through from a commitment to action, and you can do that by rewarding involvement,
you know, public recognition for individual ideas or individual effort, you can foster
innovation by letting employees run with their- if somebody has an idea, letting them run
with their idea, and then celebrate individual and organizational accomplishments, that’s
really important. But the thing to remember, through all of
this, is that you need to move people from awareness to action, and that as new people
arrive this process starts all over again, employee engagement is a continuous process. So, in order to be truly successful at engaging
employees at every step, sustainability really needs to become a part of the organizational
culture. So, at this point I will stop and see if there
are questions. I have somebody who asked me,” Will you please
post a link to slides so we can cut and paste?” Yes, I will do that right now, I will. I will also be sending out an Email at the
end, after the Webinar concludes with links to the slides, and then evaluation and a bunch
of other stuff, so, but I just put the link in the chat box so everybody should see it. OK, are there any other questions before I
keep going? Seeing none, I will move on. OK. So now I want to talk a little bit about the
process of developing a sustainability plan, I almost said strategic plan, and the reason
I almost said strategic plan is because, really, the process is very similar, planning is planning,
that’s one of the things that I’ve learned from teaching this content for so long. So the first thing that most organizations,
or that I recommend most organizations do, is form a Green Team, because that’s a great
way to engage employees. So identify personnel in your organization
that are familiar with major operations and services, so things like facilities, building
management, purchasing, things like that. Include people who are enthusiastic about
promoting environmentally-responsible practices in the workplace, because, really, I mean,
those are the people that you want to have pushing, really promoting, sustainability
is the people who are enthusiastic about it, that’s kind of obvious. Be creative in your selection, good ideas
come from everywhere, so ask for volunteers and include people at all levels and responsibilities,
if you have student workers, or, you know, library pages, or whatever, get them involved,
you know, a lot of times young adults are really, really enthusiastic about sustainability
in a way that those of us who are a little bit older maybe aren’t. But I think it’s good to have a mix of ages
and a mix of job responsibilities, because, you know, as I said, you never know where
that good idea is going to come from. So correlate the number of people on the team
to the size of your staff, if you’re from a really, really super small library, you
know, you as director may be the only professional, and you may only have three other staff people,
and at that point, you know, maybe you get a board member involved, maybe you get one
other staff person involved, you know, kind of see, but also, even in large organizations,
don’t make your Green Team too big because, as we all know, really large committees- the
larger the committee, the greater the chance that decision-making gets bogged down and
you don’t actually get things done. So choose a coordinator, that coordinator
should be an enthusiastic team leader. Select one or two, depending on the size of,
again, of the size of your team, select one or two leaders who are committed to your program,
those people should oversee the program and act as a liaison between maintenance staff,
management employees, and whoever your vendors are, if you’re doing like recycling or things
like that. And ensure that the team has authority to
set goals and implement actions to achieve those goals, because if they don’t, obviously,
this is not going to work very well. Some other responsibilities of the team include
working with management to set the preliminary and long-term goals of the program, that’s
a really good way to get management buy-in, gathering and analyzing information relevant
to designing and implementing the program, and then promoting that program to employees
and educating them about how they can participate, and monitoring progress of the program because
measurement, as important, we all know that we don’t value what we don’t measure, and
then periodically report to management about the status of the program and also to your
public. So one of the first steps that you should
do once you form a Green Team is to set some preliminary goals, so start small, there are
a lot of great ideas out there, but don’t try to do everything at once, and begin your
work with simple projects that have a relatively high likelihood of success, this will help
you gain additional support and credibility, you can then expand your program little by
little. So the next thing you need to do is evaluate
your baseline impact on the environment, so what operations in libraries, in your library,
have an environmental impact, you know, start with broad categories and identify specific
processes within those categories. So create a baseline of energy and water use,
Energy Star Portfolio Manager is a really good tool for that, I’ll talk a little bit
more about that later on in the talk. Create a baseline for waste, you know, make
sure you think creatively about what waste is generated, not just paper waste because
I know libraries have lots of paper waste, but also food waste from events or from employee
lunches, you know, just anything that might be going out the door and going to the Dumpster. Purchasing practices, ask yourself,” Are you
buying green products?”, what products are you buying that contain hazardous chemicals,
there may be some things, there are probably things beyond cleaning products that fit into
that category. Identify the environmental benefits of your
current practices, because surely you’re doing some good stuff, and then discuss various
ways of implementing current practices and ways you can overcome them, but don’t look
for solutions yet, that comes later in the process. So this is an example of a table you could
use to, I call it drawing yourself a picture, so, basically, you just break it up by operations
activities, resources, waste, hazardous chemicals, and then the environmental impact, and, as
I said, this is just an example. So Energy Star Portfolio Manager is a really
great tool that allows you to track not only your building’s energy use, but also water
use over time, to get started you enter baseline data, and then you continue entering data
each, you know, as you get the usage statements each month, and Portfolio Manager also allows
you to create charts and graphs to show your progress, which is really useful. And if you’re participating in the Illinois
Green Office Challenge, I think there might be a few of you signed up for that, using
Portfolio Manager is a requirement of participating in the program. So the next thing to do is to set goals and
indicators, so you need to establish both short and long-term goals, rethink your practices
and make yourself stretch, you know, really, really think about what you’re currently doing
and maybe how you can do it differently so that you’re not producing waste in the first
place, and I’ll talk about some specific examples of that in a little bit. Be realistic, you know, understand the size
of your staff, the level of your management commitment, you know, that kind of thing. Ask yourself how you can do things in a more
efficient way. And finally, make your goals specific and
measurable, that’s really key, so instead of having a goal of reducing energy use in
the next year, say, we’re going to reduce our building’s energy use by 30 percent in
the next year. The next step, obviously, is to develop project
ideas, so compare what you’re already doing with your long-term goals. Develop a list of potential projects, I recommend
including both large and small projects, so ask yourself, if you were going to do a major
building remodel, what are some things you want to do or- and combat would be the large-
and then the small, conversely, is if you had to implement something tomorrow what would
that be? Research what other companies and organizations
are doing, there are a lot of libraries who are already pretty heavily involved in sustainability,
and I have developed a Green Libraries LibGuide at the link to which will be in the email
that I will send out after the talk today, and that LibGuide actually has case studies
to show what libraries are already working on, and if there’s something that’s not in
there that I’ve missed, please send me an email and I’m happy to include it. So look at best practices for government agencies,
there are a lot of similarities, obviously, between libraries and other government agencies,
and the federal government has been doing this for a long time so there are a lot of
really good best practices out there for that. And then brainstorm, and as my daughter’s
fourth grade teacher used to tell her class, use your resources, ask for suggestions from
everyone, again, you don’t know where that good idea is going to come from, it might
come from a patron, it might come from, you know, the part-time page, it might come from
a volunteer, it might come from your five-year-old, you never know. So once you’ve got your list of projects,
you need to prioritize it, so some things to ask yourself as you’re prioritizing the
list: will the project have environmental benefits and are those benefits significant,
will the project result in cost savings over the life of the action, if yes, how much,
long will that payback time take? You can calculate simple payback by taking
the total cost of the project divided by the annual savings, and then that gives you the
number of years until payback. Is a time frame and ease of implementation
manageable, and then do you have control over the action? I’ll give you an example of that, ISTC recently
reconstituted their Green Team, and one of the things that they decided was that they
were going to- any projects that dealt with the physical building itself, they were going
to wait on, those were going to be a lower priority, and the reason for that is that
the University of Illinois Facilities and Services manages our building, which means
we don’t have control over things like HVAC, and lighting and things like that. Anything that we do to the actual building
has to go through Facilities and Services, and there are quite a few barriers to implementation
there, so, they’re trying other things, including, we started a composting program and some things
like that, but that are things that are more behavior change-oriented that we can do in-house. Finally, does the action have high visibility
and/or educational value, and I think for libraries in particular, this is really important,
because libraries are, well, university, like college university libraries, and public libraries,
are public buildings, well, the college university libraries are public buildings or public institutions,
which means that you get all members of the general public walking in and out of them
every day, very high usage, very high traffic, that means that any projects that you do,
if you publicize them or do programming around them, have both high visibility, and I think
a really high potential for educational value. So finalize the list by giving the highest
priority to things that have the most” yes answers,” that’s kind of obvious, I think. So, the next step in the process is get it
done, how do you start to get it done, you break each project down into discrete tasks
with measurable goals when practical, because, again, if you don’t measure it, it doesn’t
matter, you know, we value what we measure. Assign staff and team members that will be
responsible for completing each task, and, once again, if you have a name associated
with a particular task, that task is much more likely to get done because there’s accountability,
when it’s everybody’s job, quite often, it’s nobody’s job. Identify resources needed to complete the
project, those will include possibly financial resources, but also people, maybe new equipment,
you know, stuff like that. Define how you’re going to track projects,
so use specific measurement indicators when you do that, we already went through that. Assign a deadline for completing each task,
because, once again, if it doesn’t have a deadline, it’s probably not going to be a
priority, I know I’m a master at putting things off until the last minute, so if there’s no
deadline, it’s probably not going to happen. Finally, write it down, because writing it
down, again, gives you that accountability and accountability is key. So here’s an example of what that might look
like: so say your sustainability goal is to decrease building energy use by 30 percent,
the measure of your success is lower energy bills. You have specific tasks including solicit
ideas from staff, change to CFL light bulbs, or actually LEDs might even be a better choice
at this point, shut down sleep computers at night, set thermostats to reduce energy use
during hours that the library is closed, that’s really key and can make a huge difference,
encourage staff to turn off the lights when leaving the break room, publicize cost savings. So those are just some examples of specific
tasks, you can see there are assigned staff, there’s a deadline, and then, hopefully, by,
you know, by December you’ll be able to see, you know, in six months, you’ll be able to
see measurable energy savings, hopefully you’ll be able to see measurable energy savings after
a month or two. So the next thing you need to do is measure
and document, so you determine what needs to be measured, how it will be carried out,
how often you’re going to do it, and who’s going to do it, and then link measurement
and monitoring to your overall plan based on whatever your goals are. I have examples: there are cost savings, water
and energy use, waste generated etc. And then keep it going, so make sustainability
a part of your routine decision-making process, and then identify the key decision points
and investigate opportunities to sustainability, so some of those key decision points include
when products are purchased, when projects are approved in budget meetings, you know,
are you factoring sustainability into that, when you’re planning for building renovation
or construction, obviously, that’s huge, you know, and maybe one of the questions you want
to ask yourself, or maybe one of your goals if you’re doing renovation or construction,
is we want to meet LEED standards, you don’t necessarily have to get LEED certified, but
you can use the standards as a benchmark. And then, when deciding what to use to evaluate
employee performance, if you really want to make it part of your organizational culture,
maybe you have a couple of people whose goals for the next year’s performance evaluation
are to do something sustainability-related, whether it’s programming or, you know, making
changes within the library’s operations, or whatever. So some next steps: tell people, you know,
if you’re in a special library, and your company has a CSR report, or Corporate Social Responsibility
website, make sure the library stuff is on there, publicize it in a newsletter, do programming
related to successful projects, and one way that you can do that is to, especially if
you’re implementing a new technology or something like that, show your patrons, do programming
to show your patrons how they can do the same things at home, because that makes that connection
then between,” Oh, look the library is doing this neat thing,” and,” Oh wait, I can do
some stuff in my house to save money, like get my kids to turn the lights off,” nah,
that’ll never happen. Another thing you can do if you’re in Illinois
is apply for Illinois Governor Sustainability Award, and, basically, what that is, it’s
a recognition program for businesses and organizations who are doing sustainability, if you aren’t
in Illinois see if your state has a similar program, a lot of states do. Join the Illinois Green Office Challenge,
again, if you’re in Illinois and you’re in the greater Peoria, Champaign-Urbana, or Bloomington-Normal
areas, we really want to have libraries involved, and I’m really pushing for that, so I think
most of you are not from Illinois but that’s OK, and also, again, see if there’s, if you’re
not in Illinois, see if there’s a similar program in your state or in your community. Don’t put your plan in a drawer and forget
about it please, please please, if you take one thing away, that’s the thing I want you
to take away today, don’t put your plan in a drawer and forget about it, evaluate and
revise it based on what works and what doesn’t, again, a lot like strategic planning, identify
new opportunities, and then ask for assistance. Illinois resources include the own Illinois
Sustainable Technology Center’s Techincal Assistance program, The Smart Energy Design
Assistance Center at the University of Illinois, and The Illinois Green Business Association. So, the last step in the planning process
is really a caution, you know, think ahead so that your process doesn’t get derailed
before it even starts, you know, think about what some problems are that might impede your
progress as you proceed down the sustainability track, to kind of beat the rail metaphor to
death, you know, ask for suggestions. Behavior change is hard, brainstorm ways and
you can, you within your Green Team, can brainstorm ways to encourage behavior change. Some examples are: celebrate your accomplishments,
you know, bring treats, do some kind of reward thing when you meet a goal, and don’t just
celebrate within the Green Team, I mean, make a big splash about it to the staff and to
your public, give prizes and recognition for people who are going green, you know, bringing
lunch from home in usable containers, if you have people who bike to work all the time,
make it easier for them to bike to work, you know, I think employee showers would be an
excellent idea, I know that’s not feasible in a lot of places but, you know, do things
like that, bike racks right outside the library, you know, make sure that your infrastructure
is backing up what you’re saying. Publicize energy and water savings, you can
translate that into cars taken off the road, pounds of CO2 prevented, EPA has fact sheets
and calculators available, there are links to those calculators on the GLRPPR’s Webinar
Meetings page that I posted a link to a little bit earlier. Also, if you’re publicizing to your public,
to your patrons, translate into metrics that they understand, so, you know, we saved X
amount of dollars on our utility bill by switching out our lightbulbs, that means that we could
buy Y number of, you know, books, Z number of DVD’S, or we were able to pay for a part-time
staff person, and I mean, those kinds of things show that you’re being good, you’re showing
your public that you’re being good stewards of their money and I think that’s really,
really important, and it’s a really good sell for your patrons. So this is the point where I’m going to stop
and again ask if there are any questions, and it doesn’t look like there are, so I’m
going to keep moving. So the next step, the next thing I’m gonna
talk about is easy opportunities, you know, what are things that you can, when you get
off this Webinar, you can do right now, or close to now. And they generally have a pretty quick payback,
so energy use is a good place to start: lighting, you can replace your incandescent bulbs if
you still have them, which you really shouldn’t, with CFLs or LEDs, you know, replace your
current fluorescent lighting with more efficient fluorescents, turn off the lights, that’s
a huge one, you can install motion detectors in the break room, meeting rooms, and bathrooms
and just the backlighting on your vending machines, that’s a HUGE energy suck. Upgrade your exit signs, a lot of the older
ones using incandescents, there are now conversion kits available, actually, to convert those
to LEDs, or there are also whole line of products, I think, that use phosphorescent. So another thing you can do is program your
thermostats or program your HVAC system, you know, there is a local library that we did
some work with at one time that had one of our Technical Assistance engineers do a walk
through their building, and one of the things that he discovered is that when they had their
new HVAC system installed, they hadn’t reprogrammed from the default settings, so at times that
the library was closed, they were heating and cooling like it was open, so he reprogrammed
that for them to, you know, and adjusted the settings to, you know, in the winter, lower
the temperature when the buildings not occupied, you know, and in the summer, raise the temperature
when the buildings not occupied, and it saved them a lot of money really fast and then,
obviously, that’s money that you keep saving. Shut down or program the Power Management
settings on your staff workstations and public access computers, there’s no reason your computers
need to sit on all night, you know, if your IT is doing upgrades at night, or, you know,
pushing out updates, there should be a way for them to configure it so that if a computer
is shut down when it’s turned back on the first thing that it does is download that
update, our computers at ISTC are actually configured that way, and it’s really great
because, again, we can shut off the computers. Ask for technical assistance, again, talk
about ISTC in the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center, apply for grants, there may be incentives
available from your utility provider, Illinois also has the Illinois Clean Energy Community
Foundation, which often has grants available for public sector buildings. A good place to go if you’re looking for any
kind of information at all on energy efficiency is Energy Star, they do buildings, they do
plants, they do new homes, I believe they actually have added a section on libraries
so if you haven’t checked them out recently, do it, because they’ve got good stuff. Another thing you can do is buy green, it’s
a lot easier to buy green products than it used to be, but you got to be careful because,
you know, just because a company says product is green doesn’t mean it is, we call that
greenwashing, basically what that means is that a company has spent more time and money
claiming to be green than it does actually being green. At best, companies make green claims to sell
stuff, at worse, it makes people more skeptical about the products that are out there, because
consumers don’t know what to believe and that obviously can hurt a company’s reputation
with customers, so I urge you to be a smart consumer. Environmental claims should be specific, you
know, look for specific amounts of recycled content, packaging reductions, that kind of
thing, you know,” Made From Recycled Content,” well, OK, how much? Some claims are too vague to be meaningful,”
eco-friendly” and” environmentally-friendly,” if you see those things, the first question
you should be asking is how? Another thing to keep in mind, is that degradable
products don’t save landfill space if you throw them in the garbage, because once things
go into a landfill, they degrade very, very slowly because there’s no oxygen to help the
process along. If you’re composting, however, composting
turns degradable material into something useful, so that’s something to think about, so if
you’re buying, you know, biodegradable products for your library events and those products
are getting thrown away, then it’s kind of a wash, you’re better off using reusables
at that point. I mean, the symbols can be useful, everybody
knows the recycling symbol, I would hope at this point, some other Green certification
symbols to look for are Energy Star, Green Seal, EPEAT, and Water Sense, and this is
what those symbols look like and what they certify, Green Seal certifies lots of stuff,
Water Sense certifies water-efficient products and services, the Forest Stewardship Council
focuses on wood and paper products, and generally their focus is on whether the wood is harvested
using sustainable forestry practices, so it doesn’t have anything to do with the amount
of recycled content in the paper itself, in fact, I encourage you to buy paper made from
100 percent recycled fibers if you can. Green Guard is not that new anymore, but it’s
indoor air quality certified. Building materials, furnishings, and finish
systems, and I know that there’s a lot of Green Guard stuff being sold through Demco
and the other library, the other big library suppliers. Energy Star, I think everybody knows Energy
Star, they do electronics, they do lighting, you know, electronic equipment, that kind
of thing, and then EPEAT certifies computers, both for energy efficiency and for toxic chemicals,
and things like that, or lack of toxic chemicals. If you run across an ecolabel, and you don’t
know what it is, you can check out the Ecolabel Index, they have 458 ecolabels listed, they’re
listed alphabetically by name and they explain where the certification is used, what it covers,
and what it doesn’t cover. I have one question, which is can I ask TC
help with statistics data, how much energy is used if a computer stays on versus shut
up down in restarted mode, how much waste do hand-dryers eliminate versus how much they
cost? That’s a good question, I actually do have
some resources for that, I don’t have them right in front of me at this particular moment,
but, yes, that is something that absolutely we can help you track down because a lot of
that data is available. My contact information will be on the last
slide, and feel free to email me if you have specific ideas or specific things you want
information on, and I’ll, you know, I’ll see what I can pull together, and I have a couple
of things, actually a couple of resources in mind, I’ll put into the email that I’m
sending out later today. Another question is: Do you work with or are
you involved with ALA’s Sustainability Roundtable? Yes, I am a member of ALA’s Sustainability
Roundtable, I think it’s great, I have not become super involved yet, but I’m keeping
an eye on it. Somebody else has said they would add” Leaping
Bunny verification” for items that are cruelty-free, in other words not tested on animals, and
I don’t know if that’s outside the purview of the EcoLabel Index or not, you might want
to check and see if that’s on there, because that’s interesting, and that actually is not
one that I had run across before. Then somebody else wants to know: Any suggestions
for responsible disposal of microforms? Actually, I was going to get to- we did materials
momentarily, but I will tell you right now that the companies that recycle X-ray film
also recycle microform, so because it’s the same materials, so if you have a local- most
places have hospitals in their community- if you can find out who’s picking up their
X-ray film, you may be able to make a deal with the recycler to have them swing by the
library and pick up your microform, and that tip actually came from one of our local community
college librarians, because they have run into that very problem. So case studies: I’m going to talk about paper
and I’m gonna talk about electronics. So first of all, some paper facts: purchase
price is just the tip of the paper iceberg, for each sheet of paper purchased, companies
must also pay for storage, copying, printing, postage, disposal, and recycling. A recent Minnesota study estimates that associated
paper costs could be as much as 31 times the purchasing cost, that does not include labor. A ream of paper that you pay five dollars
for really could cost 155 dollars, that’s kind of sobering. Citigroup determined that if each employee
used double-sided copying to conserve just one sheet of paper each week, the firm would
save seven hundred thousand dollars a year, Citi Group is a really big and that’s kind
of a big number but, you know what, every little bit helps, so, you know, double-sided
copying is definitely a good way to go. Bank of America cut its paper consumption
by 25 percent in two years by increasing the use of its online forms and reports, e-mail,
double-sided copying, and lighter weight paper. Paper has a large environmental footprint,
it takes more than a cup and a half of water to make one sheet of paper, cup and a half
is equal to one soda can, so one soda can to manufacture one sheet of paper. Over 40 percent of wood pulp goes toward the
production of paper, and reducing paper use reduces greenhouse gases, 40 reams of paper
is like 1.5 acres of pine forests absorbing carbon for a year. Another thing to keep in mind is that thermal
paper, you know, the stuff in receipt printers is often coated with unbounded Bisphenol A,
basically what unbound means is that it wipes off on the hands very easily. BPA, it has been in the news the last couple
of years because it’s also something that’s found in soft plastics, and it leaches into
liquids when it’s used for, like, baby bottles or water bottles, but it is a reproductive,
developmental, and systemic toxicant in animal studies, free thermal paper really isn’t a
lot better because it’s usually coated with different chemical, which isn’t really any
safer or more environmentally-friendly than BPA, so to ensure the health and safety of
library workers and patrons, minimize contact with them on receipt paper, that’s the bottom
line. So rethink your paper use, print only when
necessary, go electronic, you know, if you’re worried about BPA and paper, you can send
circulation receipts via email or offer a receipt-free option, you know, and there are
also plain paper receipt printers, which, you know, if you can switch that out economically
that might be something to do, use fax Post-Its rather than a cover sheet, I don’t know how
many people even fax anymore, I don’t very often. Duplex instead of printing on one side, if
you have printers that will do so, use the backside of single sheets of scratch paper,
I know a lot of libraries do that. Recycle, purchase paper with post-consumer
recycled content of 30 percent or higher, 100 percent is best obviously, and start an
office paper recycling program if you don’t already have one, although, at this point,
I think most larger libraries are already doing that, so YAY for us. So some suggestions for weeded material: you
know, book sales, book giveaways to community organizations, you can partner with Better
World Books or B-Logistics to get rid of weighted materials also, sell them on Amazon, Half.com,
or E-Bay, particularly if you have gift books or books that you’re reading that are rare
or somehow valuable, sell, donate, or recycle CD’s and DVDs, and then, as I said earlier,
microform can be recycled by companies that take X-ray film, so if you can figure out,
you know, if there’s not a company in your community that recycles X-ray film, find out
where your local hospital or your local medical clinics recycle theirs and call that vendor
and see if they’re willing to make a stop, I know in Champaign-Urbana the vendor comes
down from Chicago, I think about once a month, to pick up from hospitals so it’s easy for
him to add library stops. Eco-friendly electronics isn’t an oxymoron,
some ways to buy greener electronics include buying with energy in mind, so look for the
Energy Star label. Buy used or refurbished, look for EPEAT standards,
and then buy less toxic, again, the EPEAT website has a buyer’s guide and they also
have, you know, they also have really detailed information on computer manufacturers. So think before you throw it away, electronic
devices are a complex mixture of several hundred materials, many of them also contain toxic
heavy metals and hazardous chemicals, so don’t throw them away, it is illegal in Illinois
and I think on a count of this morning about 20 other states, you can check to see if your
state has a ban, that link is again on the GLRPPR website also. You know, a lot of manufacturers and retailers
have take-back programs now, so it’s pretty easy to make sure that your electronics are
being disposed of responsibly. You can donate to schools, community organizations,
or vocational programs, or if you work for a state institution that you have to follow,
obviously, state procurement law, that’s one thing that ISTC has actually been working
with Illinois’ Department of Central Management Services to find ways to make it easier to
donate used computers that have come out of state agencies, and then for public libraries,
TechSoup has a refurbished computer initiative, TechSoup is an organization that provides
low-cost software to nonprofit agencies including libraries, they offer refurbished computers
to nonprofits at a reduced rate, that means that libraries could get refurbished computers
at a reduced rate from TechSoup but it’s also if you’re replacing, say, all of your public
access terminals at once and you have all these computers and you don’t know what to
do with them, you could maybe contact TechSoup and see if they want to take those. So two places you can learn more: The State
Electronics Challenge, as I mentioned we have a Webinar coming up on November 18th, which
is an introduction of the State Electronics Challenge, all public entities are welcome
to participate in the challenge and that includes schools, nonprofits, libraries. And then the Sustainable Electronics Initiative,
which is an initiative of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, is also a great information
resource, and, again, these links are on the GLRPPR website, along with the links to the
slides, and I’ll be sending those links out at the end. Finally, we’re going to talk very briefly
about becoming a community leader in sustainability, and a lot of this is targeted at public libraries
but I think there are things that college university libraries and special libraries
can take away from this, too, you know, try doing some local initiatives, establish relationships
with local environmental groups, partner with them for library projects, for example, say
you want to make your landscaping more environmentally-friendly by planting native plants, work with your
local master gardeners group to have them help you figure out what plants to plant and
maybe actually have them do the work. You can start a tool-lending library, a local
seed repository for heirloom plants, or be a local drop-off for batteries, electronics,
or sneaker recycling, and libraries are doing all of those things, tool-lending libraries
actually go along with the whole” maker movement,” also in public libraries, and then publicize
the library sustainability projects, if you already have a green building, for example,
use the green technology features in that building as a springboard for educating your
patrons about how those technologies work and can be applied at home, for example, say
you’ve built a new building and you’ve installed a geothermal system, have information available
in a prominent location about how geothermal energy works, maybe bring in a local contractor
who installs geothermal systems in homes, you know, show people that it’s not just for
big buildings, it’s not just for libraries, and it’s things that they can do in their
own lives to make a difference. Some programming ideas that I’ve come up with
off the top of my head: there are libraries that are doing environmental film festivals,
I mean, you do sustainability book club, there are a lot of great sustainability books out
there, I actually have developed a LibGuide of environmental novels, if you’re interested
in doing that also, there’s a link to that on the Green Library’s LibGuide, you could
have a program making art from found items or from recycled stuff, have an art show displaying
art from recycled materials and found items, there are a lot of artists doing really cool
things. Another thing you can do is show people how
to do altered book art, I know several librarians who do really beautiful sculptures and stuff
with old books, have a series of green lifestyle or green business speakers, for example, local
contractors who do green home building, renovation work, you know, companies that are in your
area or businesses in your area that are implementing sustainability projects, that kind of thing,
do displays of your sustainability books and DVD’s, that’s a pretty, you know, low-hanging
fruit kind of way to to do some sustainability programming. Ask for ideas, good ideas are out there everywhere,
so the thought- the final thought- that I want to leave you with today is a quote from
Albert Einstein:” Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is
the only means,” librarians are seen as the knowledge experts in their organizations and
in their communities and libraries are seen as the place to go for information, hopefully,
in their community, which makes them perfect sustainability champions, so, you know, I
think that libraries really have a role to play in sustainable communities and hopefully
now you do too. There is my contact information, there’s finally
the link to the, again, to where the presentation slides are, and I will take any final questions. And it doesn’t look like there are any. Once again, the presentation slides are available
on the GLRPPR website’s Meetings page, look for a follow-up email from me either later
today or tomorrow, it will include a link to a feedback form, it will also include a
link to the presentation slides, hopefully to the archived Webinar recording, if you
want to share that with your colleagues who weren’t able to participate today. We’ll also be posting the archived Webinar
to GLRPPR’s Youtube channel in a week or two, it depends on how long it takes to actually
get the file converted. So, again, thank you to everyone for joining
us today, and I hope you all have a great afternoon, and if you have- oh, well, let’s
see- I think I have one more question. One person wanted to know how I get on board
to utilities collaborative efforts for green libraries I’m not sure what you mean by utilities,
if you’re talking about, like, your local utility, I know in Illinois, I don’t know
where you’re from, but I know in Illinois, the two big ones are Ameren and ComEd, and
they both have energy efficiency programs for individuals and for businesses, and they
are willing to provide assistance as well as other information. And do I have a contact? Yeah, if you email me, we’ll chat more offline,
I think that’s a good idea, and then somebody else points out that the 800 pound gorilla
in the room is how to reduce by 50 percent CO2 emissions to slow their growth, that’s
a good question, and I think that’s where libraries as sustainability leaders in their
community come in, because, you know, libraries can make an impact, but if libraries can make
enough of an impact or can, by example, encourage other businesses and organizations in the
community to implement sustainability projects, and I think you’ve really got something. So I will leave you with that, is, you know,
how do we begin to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent, and I think that’s probably a
topic for another day.

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