Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
Kalamazoo Public Library strives to be a good steward of our community and our environment. Going Green isn’t new at KPL. Over the years, we have examined ways that we can nurture nature by being more conscientious in the way we dispose of our unused materials and invest in building upgrades that are more energy efficient. We know that taking care of our planet is a lifelong obligation, and our efforts will continue to grow as new technology and innovation provide more opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle.
In November 1992, the Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees adopted a policy of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. The policy affirmed the library’s ongoing commitment to limit the environmental impact of its operations, and made clear its resolve to become a leader in modeling ecologically sustainable practices.
More than a quarter century later, the library remains committed to reducing its impact on the environment and is dedicated to serving our community as stewards of its precious resources.
“In order to fulfill our purpose in serving the community, we must be engaged in the ongoing effort to limit the environmental impact of our operations, and strive to be a leader in modeling ecologically sustainable practices. As we work to build a place for community engagement, we are committed to providing resources for our patrons to learn about sustainability through our collections and programming.”
—Kalamazoo Public Library Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Policy
Reduce the amount of energy we consume
- The library’s ongoing effort to reduce energy consumption includes a program to replace inefficient incandescent and fluorescent lighting throughout our buildings with energy efficient LED bulbs and fixtures.
- Inefficient CRT computer monitors have been replaced systemwide with energy saving LCD and LED flat screen displays, which not only operate with less electricity but produce significantly less heat than the older models.
- Conventional plumbing fixtures such as faucets and toilets are currently being upgraded with low-flow fixtures to reduce water consumption by as much as 20%.
- Over the coming years the library will be replacing its aging heating and air conditioning systems with an eye for dependability and energy efficiency.
Reduce the amount of natural resources we consume
- We have reduced the number of printed promotional flyers, saving both paper and printer ink.
- Water bottle refill fountains have been installed at Central Library.
Reduce the amount of pollutants we contribute
In recent months, 129 cubic feet of material removed from the basement during the Washington Square dewatering project was diverted from landfill and was instead recycled into new building materials. This amounts to around 19,350 pounds of concrete or a little over 9½ tons. Construction waste diversion is an important part of all sustainability efforts and will be an ongoing part of our responsible project management program here at the KPL.
Make purchasing decisions that place a high value on sustainably produced products
- The library no longer purchases and distributes plastic bags.
- In 2019, the library will launch a new website utilizing carbon-neutral web hosting.
Increase the amount of recycling in our waste stream
- We continue to responsibly recycle paper products, printer cartridges, batteries, computer parts and other unused technology.
- We regularly donate our used computers and printers, office equipment and office furniture to local organizations in need.