Commercial Waste Reduction Clearinghouse
|DEQ Home > Land Quality > Solid Waste > CWRC > Success Stories > Corvallis-Benton County Public Main Library|
Corvallis-Benton County Public Library Main Library
The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library consists of a main library in downtown Corvallis, rural and mobile branch libraries, a bookmobile, and other community outreach services. The main library (hereafter, "Library" or "Corvallis Library") is owned and operated by the City of Corvallis; Benton County funds approximately 45% of the library budget.
The Corvallis Library occupies an entire city block. The original library was built in 1932, and remodeled and expanded in 1965 and again in 1992 to its current size of three floors and 57,000 square feet. The Library has 62 employees and is served by approximately 180 volunteers. The Corvallis Library is the hub of a countywide library system that checked out 1,300,000 books and other items in 1995, and, according to the City of Corvallis, is one of the busiest library systems of its size in the United States. In 1995, the Corvallis Library averaged 2,000 patron visits per day, seven days a week.
As a participant in the Corvallis Model City Project, the Corvallis Library underwent resource evaluations of water, energy, and materials use to find out where resources could be used more efficiently. These evaluations-revealed a number of opportunities to reduce waste and conserve resources.
This case study describes several efforts that the Corvallis Library and Public Works Department (which maintains the building) are currently implementing, will begin in the next few months, or are studying for further consideration. This case study will be updated in the spring of 1996, when the Library will have more measurable results and experience with these efforts.
Durable Plastic Totes
The Corvallis Library is the hub of the entire Corvallis-Benton County Library system. Books are constantly moving between the Corvallis Library and the rural libraries in Alsea, Monroe, and Philomath, the mobile branch library (which goes to smaller communities), the bookmobile, and other community outreach services.
Books and other materials are transported in durable totes. The totes are reused as often as possible, but constant-use results in the need for replacements. Two different kinds of totes are currently in use. As budget allows, the Library purchases more durable totes. Generally speaking, more durable totes have higher prices than less durable totes, but their longer life saves money and reduces waste in the long run, as the following table illustrates:
The Library system currently has 20 of the more durable totes in circulation. Over their entire lives, each tote will save an estimated $5.90 in purchasing costs ($118 for all 20 totes) and use 4.15 fewer pounds of materials (83 pounds for all 20 totes).
The Corvallis Library obtains toner cartridges for its laser printers from two sources: the City's Data Processing Office, and an office supply company.
The Data Processing Office, in turn, obtains cartridges from two different sources: new cartridges from a manufacturer and remanufactured cartridges from a company that specializes in recharging and remanufacturing used cartridges. In the last fiscal year, the Data Processing Office purchased 16 new cartridges and 16 remanufactured cartridges. The remanufactured cartridges saved the City approximately $325.
As cartridges need replacing, the Library has recently begun sending its used cartridges to the Data Processing Office. The Data Processing Office sends the cartridges back to the manufacturer or remanufacturer for recycling and repair/reuse, respectively.
Buying Recycled Paper
The Corvallis Library uses stationery containing recycled paper. Buying recycled paper provides markets for the waste paper that the Library recycles. It reduces the use of wood pulp, and saves energy and water.
All City agencies purchase stationery from The Franklin Press Printing. Letterhead and envelopes contain 35% recycled content. The price of this paper is comparable to non-recycled paper. The City of Corvallis is also adding the recycled-content logo (white chasing arrows on a black circular background) to the stationery to help increase public awareness about the availability of quality recycled paper.
Staff and public photocopiers at the Library are leased from Hendersons Photocopy Systems. Hendersons is under contract to maintain, repair, and stock the copiers with paper. The City is in discussions with Hendersons to switch to recycled content paper.
The Corvallis Library recycles mixed office paper and computer paper, corrugated cardboard boxes, newspaper, yard debris, and bottles and cans with Corvallis Disposal. Corvallis Disposal has provided the Library with a special cage for corrugated cardboard, roll-carts for yard debris, old newspapers, and office paper, and red totes for cans and bottles. Recycling boxes next to desks and computer printers make recycling of office and computer paper convenient for employees and patrons alike. Participants in a sheltered workshop help to consolidate the recyclables in central locations. Each floor also has a designated "recycling representative" who helps to encourage participation in their work area.
The Library also encourages the reuse of books through the annual Friends of the Library used book sale. Books that don't sell are given to Oregon State University, which consolidates the books with those from the University, and sells them to a paper recycler.
Astrobright Paper Policy
Astrobrights and other intensely colored papers cannot be recycled in Corvallis Library's recycling program. The Library has an unofficial policy not to purchase any astrobright papers. If staff need a poster, flyer, or notice to catch people's attention, they rely on graphics or use a pastel colored paper.
In addition to using fewer dyes, this policy has two financial benefits. First, astrobrights cost approximately $8.00 more per ream than pastel-colored papers. Not buying astrobrights saves the Library approximately $200 a year. The second financial benefit comes in garbage fees. In the City of Corvallis' garbage collection franchise, rates are set to cover expenses and to provide a reasonable profit to Corvallis Disposal. By keeping astrobrights out of the recycling and garbage containers, the Corvallis Library makes its recyclable paper more valuable. Corvallis Disposal earns more for the paper, which reduces its expenses, and thus helps to keep City-wide garbage rates from increasing.
All sinks in restrooms have self-regulating faucets that provide water for approximately three seconds before turning off. Water is also set at a constant temperature, so patrons don't waste water-adjusting the temperature. These faucets were installed when the Library underwent its most recent renovation, in 1992. They conserve water and energy, because less water needs to be heated. This, in turn, reduces the City's energy, water, and wastewater costs.
The Corvallis Library has a variety of plantings with turf lining two sides of the building and occupying a small area in the front. Trees and shrub beds border the brick building on four sides, and the parking area immediately behind the Library. An automatic sprinkler is used for watering all of the landscaped areas. In 1993 the Library's maintenance supervisor realized that the sprinkler system was overwatering the grounds, and so reduced the run times from 20 minutes per station to 6 -10 minutes per station. Although a formal landscaping water audit has not been performed, these shorter cycles appear to provide the landscaping with adequate water, except for new plantings, which are watered by hand with hoses.
This single action reduced the Library's annual consumption of water by approximately 440,000 gallons. If the Library were a commercial water customer (it isn't, and as a City facility is not billed for its water use), this would save about $530 a year in consumption charges alone.
Retrofit Exit Signs with Energy Efficient LEDs
The Library's 26 exit signs are lit 24: hours a day, 365 days a year Currently, each sign is lit by two 20-watt incandescent lamps. As these lamps burn out, Public Works staff will replace them with 2-watt LED lamps. LED lamps have life expectancies of 30 to 50 years, compared to 4 to 6 months for the incandescent lamps.
LED conversion kits cost $40 each, and labor is estimated at $12 per sign. Total retrofit costs are estimated to be $1,352. The retrofit will save 7,972 kWh per year, and reduce the City's electricity bill by approximately $259/year. Installing LED lamps will also free maintenance staff from replacing light bulbs as often, and save as much as $369 a year in light bulb costs (assuming $2.39 per bulb replaced every 4 months).
In addition to resource efficiency measures at the Library, the Library also helps citizens of Benton County to better understand their environment and how they can help protect it. Several displays in the Library lobby have encouraged residents to avoid using hazardous products, and to protect water quality in streams and rivers.
Other Measures Currently Under Consideration
The Library and Public Works Department are also considering several additional recommendations which resulted from the energy, water, and materials evaluations performed as part of the Model City Resource Efficiency Project. This case study will be updated in the spring of 1996, if the Library has implemented or chosen to implement any of the following changes.
Special thanks to Keith Billings, Mary Steckel, and Mike Schor of the City of Corvallis Public Works Department, and Denise Thompson and Lisa Brown of the Corvallis Library. Corvallis Disposal, Pacific Power, Northwest Natural Gas, and the Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce have also contributed to the success of this effort.
This case study was developed by Harding Lawson Associates (HLA), under contract to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ3. DEQ the Oregon Department of Energy, and the Oregon Water Resources Department contributed to the development of this case study. This case study has bee-e approved by the City of Corvallis.
For more information about DEQ's Land Quality programs, visit the DEQ contact page.