Several green-minded campus groups are collaborating this quarter to help Davidson Library reduce its carbon emissions footprint.
The student organization PACES, Program for the Assessment and Certification for the Environment and Sustainability, will be conducting a series of sustainability scans of the library to identify energy conservation opportunities.
The program, which was initiated last year by the Ellison Hall Sustainability Committee and Associated Students Recycling, aims to prepare UCSB for upcoming Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design assessments that evaluate the sustainability levels of campus buildings.
Even though PACES has already scanned several buildings — including the College of Creative Studies, as well as music and geography departments — intern Christopher Murphy, a third-year English major, said the review of the library is unique.
“The library is very different from all the departments we’ve done because it’s a non-academic department in that it has a working staff, but it’s also an academic department because of the amount of students who use it,” Murphy said. “The assessment had to be tailored differently so that we’re almost doing two assessments.”
Assistant University Librarian Brian Mathews said the library will reap both financial and environmental benefits from the project.
“Our administrative group discussed the proposal and we were all onboard right away,” Mathews said in an e-mail. “There are a number of benefits to be gained, from the potential savings on utility bills to the broader notion of reducing our eco-footprint.”
Although sustainable alternatives will generate tangible savings, Murphy said the scan’s primary goal is to increase student awareness.
“Most of our changes happen on a behavioral level,” Murphy said. “PACES’ presence in the library and their resulting findings should serve to satisfy a greater goal of increasing the visibility of eco-aware groups within the student population here at UCSB.”
PACES has also developed a survey, available at www.library.ucsb.edu, for students and staff to offer green project ideas.
“I want to hear from students and faculty, not only about environmental issues, but in ways that the library can enhance teaching, learning and research on campus,” Mathews said. “We also like to foster creative and intellectual experiences and it’s great when we can partner with passionate people.”
Additionally, Sustainable Actions Needed Everywhere — a five-year-old committee to evaluate the library’s environmental responsibility — has thus far installed recycling bins around the library, created posters to increase student awareness about recycling practices and sought other libraries’ advice on proper environmental practices.
S.A.N.E committee member Ann Hefferman, a library assistant in the Map and Imagery Laboratory, said the study will act as a vehicle for change.
“We can look for PACES’ study to confirm how much the students are currently recycling and how we can increase it,” she said.