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Photo of the AU Library and Facilities Management group representative, <a href=

Representing the AU Library and Facilities Management group, Bob Yerkey receives his award from Mike Kensler, Director of the Office of Sustainability at Auburn University.

Libraries & Facilities Management — Group

Auburn University, Auburn, AL 

One would be hard-pressed to find a better example of cross-departmental collaboration and long-term thinking than that of the building management work between AU Libraries and Facilities Management. Understanding the role university facilities can play in increasing awareness, improving productivity, and conserving resources, the Libraries staff has strategically combined their resources with those of Facilities to implement a long-range plan to improve lighting, reduce energy consumption, and minimize hazardous waste within the Ralph Brown Draughton Library. By working together to secure the resources, conduct the work, and educate the campus community, these two groups have proven that collaborative efforts focused on optimizing building systems can not only be done, but can also generate positive results around all points of the Sustainability Compass.

For over three years, AU Libraries and Facilities have partnered to utilize some of the latest in lighting technology to improve the user experience, while also reducing energy consumption, hazardous wastes, and costs for the facility. Through a combination of LED lighting fixtures, daylight harvesting systems, occupancy sensors, and more efficient fluorescents, the projects they have completed has generated a 57% reduction in energy consumption. In addition, these upgrades allow for more natural lighting; a softer, warmer light level; and decreases in demand for controlling the climate.

Not only have there been operational benefits as a result of this partnership, but this group has utilized these improvements to educate staff, colleagues, and students on the opportunities that sustainability presents for facilities management. By being the first on-campus application to integrate daylight harvesting, the Libraries and Facilities group capitalizes on every chance to share their story and experiences with both campus and community members alike. These projects have also help lay the groundwork for strategic planning within the Libraries that incorporates sustainability within its facilities, information technology, and library services planning. Together these changes in planning and improvements in efficiencies positively demonstrate that small changes can have large and lasting impacts.