3 Library Projects Reduce Environmental Impact While Saving Money

LED lighting, HVAC upgrades, and an electric van are helping the library save on energy costs while also maintaining good stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

One of the Westerville Public Library's current strategic goals is to increase sustainability through environmental, fiscal, and social initiatives. In 2023, we were able to make big strides in this arena through three different projects detailed below.

Upgrading to LED Lighting

In 2018, the library embarked on a multi-year plan to replace all light bulbs in the building with LED lights. The library invested $114,998 and received an additional $12,761 from the Westerville Electric Division’s BusinessWISE incentive program and $22,241 from Plug Smart’s incentive program to help pay for the upgrades. Looking at our energy costs prior to switching, we are now saving at least $4,000 per month. This change has also ensured that we spend significantly less time replacing bulbs. The expectation is that it will take just 2 years to recoup the costs of making the switch.

Improving HVAC Infrastructure

In 2022, the library and City of Westerville Electric Division began work together on a pilot program to reduce energy usage by increasing the efficiency of our HVAC infrastructure. The electric division paid for a study to identify tangible action items that would help the library reduce our energy bill and improve indoor air quality. Then the library invested $20,633 and received an additional $2,665 from the Westerville Electric Division for the recommended upgrades. Analysis performed in October 2023 indicates that the library will reduce electric usage by 98,900 kWh per year. Based on current energy rates, this means a savings of $690 per month. The library will recoup our costs within 2.5 years. 

Both the lighting and HVAC energy reduction projects helped us meet the needs of the community by improving comfort, reducing noise and air pollution, and maintaining good stewardship with taxpayer dollars through reduction in operational costs and utility bills, while also reducing our impact on the environment

Switching to an Electric Vehicle

The home deliveries van has been showing signs of age. To replace it, the library - with generous support from Friends of the Westerville Public Library - has purchased an electric van and installed a 208v Level 2 charging station in the garage. This change will help us save on fuel and maintenance costs, ensure a longer service life, and lower our carbon emissions thereby reducing air pollution. 

Other Initiatives

Other environmental sustainability initiatives included educational and resource-sharing programs with Green Your Home activity kits, gardening workshops, an electric vehicle information session, plant and seed swaps, forest therapy walks, and more. The library also dedicates a staff member to serve on the Westerville Green Team led by the City of Westerville.

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