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Library Continues, Expands its Sustainability Efforts

by Kimberley Barker on 2020-08-19T15:15:40-04:00 | Comments

A palette-style short wall is topped with a row of green bushes. On the wall is a sign that reads, "Free Air". A bistro style table with a chair stacked on it is in front of the wall.

Photo by Sanmeet Chahil on Unsplash

This article was written by Kyle Bowman, and edited by Kimberley R. Barker.


As you enter the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, you will notice that the lighting is much brighter; if you settle in for a socially-distanced study session, you’ll notice that the room temperatures are more consistent throughout the entire space. Over a year ago, the Library’s Administrative Manager, Kyle Bowman, building on the work of the Library’s Green Team (a group of Library faculty and staff committed to reducing energy consumption and wastefulness), initiated a feasibility study to identify steps for lowering the energy consumption and utility costs for the Library. Kyle recruited the University of Virginia’s Delta Force– a team of UVA engineers, technicians and specialists whose expertise is energy and water conservation– to provide an assessment and recommend a plan to, among other things, lower current energy consumption, improve air filtration systems and HVAC efficiency, and lessen the Library’s overall environmental impact.

The Library was eager to work with Delta Force because of its proven, results-driven efforts; in a "UVA Today" article from 2018Jesse Warren, sustainability program manager for buildings and operations in the University of Virgina’s Office for Sustainability, said of Delta Force:

“ ‘Because of Delta Force, there is about 67% energy cost savings at Clark Hall, reducing the annual energy expense from around $1.2 million to about $450,000, and preventing the emission of over 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year,’ said Jesse Warren, sustainability program manager for buildings and operations in the University of Virgina’s Office for Sustainability.”

Delta Force has worked on approximately 65 University buildings, which collectively account for almost 47% of the University’s energy use.

Over the last eight months facilities technicians worked tirelessly along with members of Facilities Management’s Building Optimization Team (a cross-collaborative team of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning [HVAC] and controls technicians, plumbers, and electricians) to retrofit the Library and install the new equipment that made these improvements possible. Conveniently, much of the work was accomplished while the Library was physically closed to the public during Tier Three of the Pandemic Operational Plan- a silver lining to the Library’s closure, as the work would undoubtedly have caused some inconvenience to visitors. 

The project addressed two main areas: HVAC and Lighting, and the following are examples of some of the improvements in each:


  • Installed new wiring throughout the Library’s three floors
  • Upgraded controls on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system
  • Brought air-handling units to peak efficiency
  • Upgraded electronic control valves to turn off air compressors, which are major energy consumers
  • Repaired the energy recovery system, which recaptures energy from the exhaust air stream


  • Converted all lighting to light-emitting diode (LED) lamps
  • Replaced 52 light sensors throughout facility
  • Replaced 200 2x2 light fixtures
  • Replaced 60 can light fixtures

Further, as part of the Library’s commitment to its overall “greening” efforts, the following practices have been/will be implemented:  

  • Using recyclable products for catered events
  • Commiting to purchase 30% recycled printer paper and other paper products
  • Upgrading to green cleaning supplies and methods
  • Posting “Take just one” (in reference to paper towels) signs in restrooms
  • Posting “Turn it off” signs by light switches
  • Adjusting computer sleep settings
  • Addressing temperatures in offices
  • Consolidating appliances

It is the Library’s goal to earn UVA’s Green Workplace Certification at the Silver level; thanks to the combined efforts of the Green Team, Kyle, and Delta Force, the Library is close to its accomplishment as the project is expected to be finalized by mid-September 2020.

Do you have questions about our greening efforts? Do you have suggestions for how we can continue to not only lessen our environmental impact, but also make your physical experience of the building better? If so, please email Kyle at
klb9u@virginia.edu - the Library would love to hear from you!

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1350 Jefferson Park Avenue P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville, VA 22908 (Directions)

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