Yale University Library


Yale University Library Green Team

Bike Buddies Program Flourishing!

Ever since our Bike Buddies program at the Yale Sustainability Summit, enthusiastic members of our Library Green Team have been developing the concept and its manifestation. What started out as an idea to help the planet, and encourage Yale employees to bike to work, is now a networking group of dedicated bikers, one of whom has created a detailed bike buddies blog which includes how to find a bike buddy, virtual biking routes, faq's, and all current links to and info about the biking scene in New Haven.

Another powerful development is the current cooperation and sharing of information between the different sustainability groups and offices at Yale and in New Haven. This magnifies everyone's efforts, and spreads a clearer and bigger green signal.

Check out the informative blog at: http://bikebuddies.wordpress.com/ or contact bikebuddies.yale@gmail.com Let's make green choices!

Sustainable Gardening

Spring is here and our gardens are calling us!

Let's learn about sustainable gardening and see what we can do with it in the Yale Library Community!

More at our next meeting!


2-sided copying

Thanks to Bill Richo for creating this spiffy sign that will encourage your colleagues to make double-sided copies. (For a version of this image in Microsoft Publisher format, contact Lisa or Bill.


Library Preservation goes Green

Our March 2009 guest at the Library Green Team was Tara Kennedy, Preservation Field Services Librarian. Tara is tracking temperature and humidity conditions in collection areas throughout the library system. The systematic collection of data will help the preservation team identify opportunities for energy conservation that will not compromise the collections.

One experiment is already up and running in Sterling. The Sterling stack tower has six powerful HVAC units running simultaneously. Tara is using environmental monitoring to assess the impact of powering down one of the units periodically (some of the results are shown in the graph below).


The hope is that facilities can cycle through the HVAC units, reducing the total energy usage for conditioning the stacks. The experiment is ongoing and we look forward to hearing more as it progresses.

Many thanks to Tara for updating us on energy conservation efforts in the Preservation department!

Energy usage at Yale libraries

Tom Downing, Senior Energy Engineer at Yale, visited the Library Green Team in February to discuss energy conservation at Yale. He shared the following chart, showing energy usage in several library buildings. If you compare the amount that goes to steam and chilled water to the other categories, you can see that a very large portion of energy is devoted to heating and cooling in Library buildings.

A national study is currently underway that will re-evaluate the air conditioning requirements for bookstacks. Based on studies such as this, we may be able to change the way Library buildings heat and cool the stacks and cut away at the blue and orange swaths of the bar graph below.

While heating and cooling is largely beyond our daily control, the green-shaded areas below can be reduced through simple behavioral changes (turn off anything electric when not in use and unplug devices such as battery chargers, etc.). Information about sustainable office behavior can be found at the Yale Sustainability Pledge.

Thanks to Tom for the update on conservation practices!


Green initiatives cited as cost-saving measures

In recent conversation about the budget, it has been heartening to hear recognition of the Library Green Team efforts to save money and other resources. I've listed here several of the recent measures that both promote environmental sustainability and reduce costs. It can be difficult to quantify how much money is saved by measures like this. If you see savings in your department, please document it and share figures with the Green Team.

Switch from 5-gallon Poland Spring water bottles to filtered water.

Report energy and water waste to Facilities (open windows, leaking faucets).

Switch to 30% recycled content copy paper, for which Purchasing has negotiated a lower price than virgin paper.

Conscious use of disposable products including plasticware, cups and towels.

Print double-sided. Change the default settings of your printer if you can.

Turn your thermostat down in winter and up in summer (if appropriate for your work environment).

Turn your computer off overnight.

Unplug any electronic devices or appliances when not in use.

Turn lights off when not necessary.

Do you have something to add to the list? Send your observation to Green Team chair Lisa Conathan.

New news from the Office of Sustainability

The Yale Office of Sustainability has just released its October newsletter, which details information on the University's Greenhouse gas reduction, the work of the Law School's Green Team, and other campus sustainability initiatives.

Transportation Fringe Benefit to Bicycle Commuters

Library Green Team member, Lisa Conathan (Archivist for Slavic Language Collections, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library), shares this good information:

In October, George Bush signed the Transportation Fringe Benefit to Bicycle Commuters, which allows employers to reimburse bicycle commuters up to $20 per month tax-free for eligible expenses. The act was section 211 of HR 1424 (the Wall Street bailout package) and takes effect January 1.

Library Green Team members believe this represents a wonderful opportunity for Yale to improve the commuter benefit program in order to better align it with University-wide sustainability initiatives. Currently, bicycle commuters do not receive the type of benefits that are extended to those who carpool or use public transportation. While the dollar amount is small, this benefit would be an added incentive to bike to work.


The University Benefits Office has not decided whether or how to implement this yet. Library staff are encouraged to share their opinions: (benefits.office@yale.edu).

The full text of the relevant section of the law is cited in this article form Cycleliciou.us:

Yale's Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Earlier this month, Yale released its 2008 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy executive summary. The University’s role as a leader in campus sustainability includes openly sharing the University’s progress toward achieving its greenhouse gas commitment to reduce emissions 43% below 2005 levels by 2020.


This summary illustrates Yale’s progress to date and outlines the University’s strategy for reaching its ambitious target. For further information regarding Yale’s campus sustainability efforts or to view Yale’s 2006 and 2007 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy executive summaries go to the Office of Sustainability's homepage.

Mmm ...


Melina Shannon-DiPietro, Director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project; Hannah Eisler Burnett , Yale Sustainable Food Project Program Coordinator; and Bob Sullivan, Interim Director of Retail Operations & Catering for Yale Dining Services; spoke at the Library Green Team's October meeting. Melina and Hannah discussed the Project's mission, history and work, as well as the Yale Farm, the Harvest pre-orientation program, and other programs. Bob contributed information about Yale catering and retail, including the Thain Family Cafe in the Bass Library.