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Harvard College Library

Sustainability

Sustainability

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Harvard College Library is committed to implementing programs and projects that will contribute to sustaining the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1997, HCL has implemented an array of "green" changes to conserve energy and to create a sustainable environment in the buildings that it manages—Widener, Houghton, Lamont, Pusey, Tozzer, and the floors the Library occupies at 625 Massachusetts Avenue. HCL Operations collaborates with the Harvard Office of Sustainability and other units throughout the University to identify and integrate best practices into the libraries.

This year the Fine Arts Library, housed in the renovated Littauer Library space, was certified by the US Green Building Council as meeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standards for environmental and sustainable design and construction. The project met more than three dozen LEED guidelines, including the use of 100% recycled gypsum wallboard, locally produced construction materials, and wood harvested from sustainable forests; and the creation of an energy-efficient lighting plan for the library. Even after the renovations were complete, sustainability remained a key consideration as the new library space was outfitted. Rather than purchase new shelving, existing stack and systems shelving was reused, as was much of the furniture in the library and offices. This project was significant not only because it was the first library at Harvard to achieve LEED Gold, but also because it demonstrated that it is possible in the renovation of a portion of an historic building to integrate sustainable building practices into the design and construction.

An HCL Green Team reporting to Library Operations launched this year with a charge to review, recommend, and, when appropriate, implement sustainability projects that reduce the environmental impact of library offices, public spaces, and business practices. One of their first projects was to implement the public space recycling program to capture more recyclable material and avoid the combination of non-recyclables with single-stream recyclables to improve the recycling-to-trash ratio, a University-wide goal.

The Library recently worked with contractors to create three different schedules for the HVAC equipment—one for regular session, one for intersession, and a third for summer session. The project, which took nearly six months to complete, is expected to save more than eight times its cost in annual energy savings. While the new system saves HCL thousands in unnecessary heating and cooling costs, it also dramatically cuts greenhouse gas emissions. Other projects undertaken this year include the installation of occupancy sensors and compact fluorescent bulbs in dozens of areas, replacing bottled water coolers with filtered water dispensers and installing water-conserving bathroom fixtures.

Director of HCL Operations and Security Paul Bellenoit was selected from more than 200 nominees University-wide to receive an inaugural Green Carpet Award from the Harvard Office for Sustainability, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Harvard's sustainability effort. During the period the award covered, Bellenoit has planned and overseen the implementation of more than a dozen projects that have reduced energy use, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions from the libraries managed by HCL Operations, saving 331,737 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 14,000 gallons of water, and resulting in a greenhouse gas reduction of more than 15% since 2006—the fourth largest reduction among all sectors of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.