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UCC Library News

UCC Library Green Energy Campaign

by Catherine McKenna on 2017-09-05T16:19:00+01:00

The Love Our Library green energy campaign was launched on the 4th September. This campaign strives to make our library operations more environmentally sustainable.

The project initially started off in January 2017 as an energy savings scheme, where any savings made in our energy consumption would be put back into the Library budget to spend on sustainability projects. The Library was selected for this scheme as it accounts for 10% of the electricity consumption across the entire portfolio of UCC buildings.

Working with the campaign team, the library staff and the B&E office, we have achieved some notable accomplishments in energy conservation:

         Air ventilation and heating systems rebalanced to improve the office environmental conditions.
         Changes made to building services to reduce operating times to suit library occupancy profile.
         Postgraduate library lighting trials undertaken during the summer months to reduce the lighting load in low
         
occupancy areas.

By implementing these changes (at minimum costs) it is estimated that we will consume 6% less energy in 2016/17 compared to 2015/16, giving the Library €15,450 back in energy savings. We have already allocated these funds to pay for the new air barrier at the front entrance which should

         significantly reduce the impact of strong winds / cold breezes at the front door
         save over €8,000 in annual heating costs and hopefully addressing a long standing issue.

However, as the project progressed we very quickly realised that we had to broaden our horizons and include areas such as waste handling, water use and operations as these all have a significant environmental impact on the library operations.

We have undertaken audits and walk downs with ISS, who have been tracking the waste figures on our behalf. From their data we have found some startling facts such as:

        We have over 167 bins across the Library that are emptied daily, consuming over 3,500 plastic bags per month.
         Each bin is typically 15-20% full.
         Our recycling rate is in the low 5-10% range.
         During semester time the recycling rate from the bins in the open access areas is effectively zero due to the high levels of contamination.

Under the campaign we are rolling out the ‘Binless Office’ concept to reduce the amount of contaminated waste from staff areas while also providing better facilities for staff to separate their waste. We are also installing new collection arrangements at the main entrance to cater for the student areas where all library users can dispose of waste such as plastic bottles, paper, batteries etc.  Signage will be rolled out and information/ training days will be held to assist staff / students in using these new arrangements.

We are currently drawing up a list of potential energy saving projects for next year so if you have any suggestions or areas that you want us to investigate then please drop us a line at library@ucc.ie

Keep an eye out for more campaign details over the next few weeks as we look forward to a cleaner greener library with sustainability at its centre.


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