Campus Sustainability Viewed Through the Library Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2547 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

Sustainable Building

Promoting Sustainability through the Campus Library

The library is the center of campus life and offers its community a valuable resource. As the center of campus and community life, the example that the library sets can have an impact on the actions taken by the rest of the community as well. For instance, the library is currently being remodeled. Ad part of that project, they have decided to obtain a Platinum LEED certification for sustainability. In doing so, they are setting an example for the community that may influence future projects in the area, making the community a more desirable neighborhood in the future. The following will discuss the various ways in which the library can contribute to the sustainability of the community and serve as an asset that the campus can use to promote sustainability to its student body.

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The term "sustainability" has crept into the lexicon of many differing fields as of recent. The first question is exactly what is meant by sustainability in terms of the library as s community asset. One its most basic level, sustainability means taking actions to preserve an asset for future generations. One of the most frequently used aspects of sustainability is the environmental aspect. This often means using green materials in building, recycling and taking actions that will help to preserve the environment for future generations. Financial sustainability means taking actions that will lead to financial growth and survival in the future. One can also refer to a sustainable competitive advantage. This mean taking actions that will preserve the current sustainable advantage and assure that a competitive advantage is maintained in the future. The library has the potential for sustainability in all three of these areas.

Environmental Sustainability

Research Paper on Campus Sustainability Viewed Through the Library Assignment

Environmental sustainability is the first type of concern that many people think about when they think about preserving what we have for future generations. Environmental sustainability can take many forms. On a personal level, it can mean purchasing green products, recycling, and reducing waste. An entity such as a library can participate in these activities as well. For instance, they can purchase recycled paper for copy machines, place recycling bins next to trash receptacles and can take other actions to help reduce waste where they can.

The Sierra Club supports the use of an environmental audit to make certain that the entity is as sustainable as they can be. They introduce a checklist that can be used by individuals, corporations, and others who wish to become more sustainable in the future. This audit checklist includes many areas that must be considered in order to achieve environmental sustainability. These areas include paper use, energy use, water use, and waste reduction (Sierra Club, 2005). In addition, the Sierra Club encourages that life cycle and impact studies be conducted for the materials that they purchase.

The Sierra Club also includes travel and the impact on the carbon cycle as part of the audit. The library may not engage in travel, but they can consider how they transport books from one location to another and its impact on the carbon cycle. Making the staff aware of ways in which they can employ sustainable management practices in their daily routine is the key to making the library a community resource for educating others about sustainable practices.

The library is currently undergoing remodeling and as part of the process has decided to obtain their Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental design (LEED) certification. To obtain a platinum certification, the library must be accredited as a green building. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) provides a set of standards for environmentally sustainable design and operation of buildings. LEED certification can also be developed for entire neighborhoods. LEED certification has several different levels, according to the point value earned by the building. Certification is the lowest level. Silver and gold are the next levels, with the platinum level being the highest LEED certification available (Perryman, 2010). LEED certification considers many of the same benefits as traditional analysis.

Financial Impact

One of the key disadvantages to sustainability and the attainment of Platinum LEED certification will be the initial cost of green building materials, as compared to conventional building materials. Many green materials have higher initial costs, as compared to non-green alternatives. This will have an initial impact on the campus and on the initial community, depending on how the project is being financed. However, these costs will soon be outweighed by the benefits of the certification in the end.

Financial sustainability is a key component of the ideal of sustainability. A reduction in resource consumption, such as a lower electric bill for the installation of more efficient electrical appliances will lead to a long-term savings in utility costs (USGBC, 2010). LEED certification will make a healthier and safer work environment. This could translate into less time lost due to sickness or illness. LEED certified buildings have less waste going to landfills and therefore lower waste disposal bills. LEEDs certified buildings have lower operating costs than conventional buildings and that translates into long-term savings for the future (USGBC, 2010).

LEEDs certified buildings add to the financial wealth of the campus and community by providing a financially sustainable advantage the goes beyond their initial cost. In considering whether to LEED certify a building one must weigh both the long-term and short-term costs. Many of the initial costs of a green project can be recovered over long-term operating efficiency (Steven Winters Associates, Inc., 2004). The long-term savings of LEED certification will add to the value of the library in the future, making it an example of visionary thinking within the community.

LEEDs certification also has several advantages that can help to offset the initial costs of the project. The project may qualify for certain tax rebates and incentives for green building. It may also be able to forego certain zoning allowances. Many cities are encouraging green building projects and have additional local incentives available (USGBC, 2010). It is worthwhile to check into the incentives and promotions that are available in the local area for the library project.

LEEDs certification will help the library to meet many of its long-term financial goals through lean operation and management practices. However, it can have an overall positive impact on the campus and the surrounding community as well. The project at the library is highly visible to the public. As they begin to see the financial benefits of green building, it is likely to spark other green building projects as well. In this manner, the project at the library will serve to spark other green building project, thus increasing the financial wealth and sustainability of the community surrounding it.

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

In the corporate world, the ability to obtain an advantage that allows the entity to have an advantage over the competition that allows it to have a sustainable competitive advantage is a key component to success. The library does not have direct competition such as this, but it does have an impact on the competitive advantage in regards to the campus and community that it serves. The library is a key community resource and is highly visible. The library contributes to the overall impression of the campus and the community, which has a direct impact on the bottom line of the campus. In this manner, the library does have an impact on the competitive advantage of the campus and on the immediate community.

A platinum LEED certification for the library would have several key benefits to the community. Several social benefits can be derived from green building and practices at the library. For instance, the building will have an impact on long-term employee and visitor health and well-being (Perryman, 2010). The library is a public building and has the obligation to provide the safest and healthiest environment for staff, students and other guests. LEEDS certification provides an outward sign that the library is attempting to do just that. It will serve as a public example of the University's commitment to providing for the safety and health of the community at large.

Environmentally sustainable practices at the library will have an impact that extends to other areas of the community and life. For instance, sustainable practices at the library may extend into the personal lives of patrons. As they see the difference that little changes can make, they will be more inclined to make little changes at home to make other areas of their life more sustainable in the future. The library will contribute to community-wide changes through their example to the community. The best leader is the one that leads by example. This is perhaps the greatest impact that the library project will have on the community.

One of the key concepts of the green lifestyle is purchasing locally, thus reducing energy costs and the emission of greenhouse gases due to transportation. Purchasing locally, not only means a loss of transportation and associated costs, it means supporting the local areas businesses. Purchasing locally is a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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