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UCC Library Sustainability: Welcome

Information on UCC Library's Sustainability Campaign.

LOL Love Our Library

The E-Bikes were funded out of the Library’s energy savings and will be freely available to Library staff to use during the day, whether it’s to pop into town, to go to the Library stores or to go to one of our Branch Libraries.

Library Electric Bike

UCC Library's new Electric Van. 

library van with green graphics and

We're staying green! Refreshed living wall in the Quad Reading Room

New outdoor water refilling station. Near the Library entrance.

Energy savings have allowed us to install new plants on the ground floor

Timely installation of touch-free water fountains throughout the library during summer 2020.

Market day at UCC Library, free produce from our Aeroponics towers with Green Towers Ireland

Aeroponics towers

Background to Campaign

In October 2016 the Boole Library signed up to the "Saver Saves" scheme, run by the Buildings and Estates Offices in UCC. Under the scheme the energy budget is transferred to the Library and any energy consumption savings made remain in the library and can be reinvested in future environmental projects, while any overspends are paid for through the Library operating budget.
The Library was selected for this scheme, as it is at the heart of the campus, both geographically and functionally and is one of the most energy intensive buildings, accounting for 10% of the electricity consumption across the entire portfolio of UCC buildings. No other building on campus experiences the same amount of footfall - on average 1.5 million people visit each year.
This was seen as a fantastic opportunity to promote and spread sustainable behaviours across the University.
A Green Team, comprising the UCC Energy Manager, the UCC Sustainability Officer, the Liaison Librarian for Library Services & Environment and other staff drawn from different library units, was set up to monitor energy usage and identify areas for improvement.
As well as energy consumption, the team also decided to look at waste management and water use, as these have a significant environmental impact on the library operations.

Challenges & Objectives

There were and still are multiple challenges for all involved in this iniative,

  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Increase recycling rates
  • Reduce waste generation
  • Increase use of water fountains
  • Improve staff/student behaviour
  • Increase engagement levels of staff/students

The campaign seeks to leverage the existing culture to promote good environmental behaviours, as well as nurturing social norms that will help make the library a better space to work and study in. Months of research by the team preceded the implementation of the programme and the combination of a “carrot” (incentives) and “stick” (disposable cup ban) approach ensured success.  

As our target audience is so diverse - students, library staff, university staff and cleaning staff - we appreciate the challenge of keeping everyone on board and so, consistent and comprehensive communications are important in driving the campaign and ensuring everyone is exposed to the message that the library is going “green”.

LOL Love Our Library

The Love Our library campaign builds on the culture of mutual respect and appreciation we believe exists between the student body and library staff. 

We are very proud of the library and the range of services we offer all our users and we hope that this campaign will promote good environmental behaviours to make the Library a better space for all to work and study in, while also improving its sustainable practices.

Listen to the podcast of a radio interview with two of the team members on Shush Sounds from UCC Library

Read about the campaign in the Students' newspaper