Thursday, September 25, 2008

Managing Your Carbon Emissions -- at WLA!

The upcoming Wisconsin Library Association meeting (November 4-7, Madison, Marriott West, Middleton) stresses the theme of sustainability. The keynote address on Wednesday, November 5th (9.00-10.00) is titled "Climate Change: Local to Global and Back Again," is by UW Professor Emeritus John Magnuson.

Another very relevant session titled "Managing Your Carbon Emissions: An Innovative, Wisconsin-Based Web Tool," is to be held at 10.45-12.00 on Thursday, November 6th.

See for more information.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A case study in retrofitting a library for energy efficiency ... maybe

An article in the Cap Times today mentions that a UW-Madison engineering class recently performed an energy analysis on the Monroe Street Branch of the Madison Public Library. Great green savings ideas ... but enough money in the budget to implement them?
A study by students in Mike Oliva's sustainable design engineering class at University of Wisconsin-Madison last year found that the 47-year-old library could shave energy costs by using high-performance fluorescent light bulbs, natural lighting, double-pane windows, occupancy sensors for bathroom lights and fans and additional insulation. The students found, incredibly enough, that there was no insulation in the walls.

"The study was a good one, to look at an ancient building and see what you could do," said Library Director Barb Dimick. She thought some of the proposals, in fact, worthy enough to include in her 2009 capital budget.

"But now the operating budget is so bad that the whole thing is on hold," Dimick said.

Read the full article here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Universities market sustainability to applicants

From the New York Times today (excerpt):
HIGHER education can’t resist a ranking: best college, best cafeteria, biggest endowment, biggest party school. It says something about what’s important on campus, then, that when the Princeton Review releases its annual guide to colleges this week, it will include a new metric: a “green rating,” giving points for things like “environmentally preferable food,” power from renewable sources and energy-efficient buildings.

Green is good for the planet, but also for a college’s public image. In a Princeton Review survey this year of 10,300 college applicants, 63 percent said that a college’s commitment to the environment could affect their decision to go there.

Grist Magazine, Forbes Magazine, the Princeton Review, and others are now ranking colleges and universities in part at least on "green" criteria. I wonder where UW-Madison will rank? I also wonder, how might libraries in all of these institutions contribute to a strong green score?

(Read the full article here.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Carbon footprint of Web servers and clients

An interesting article in the New York Times today talks about the energy and carbon footprint of the nation's six thousand data centers and quarter-billion PCs:
Up to two thirds of the electricity consumed by a PC is wasted, meaning the machine is on but not in use, according to the Department of Energy. The research firm Gartner estimates that 40 percent of the all carbon dioxide emissions resulting from information technology and telecommunications is attributable to PC’s. Data center servers, by contrast, represent 23 percent, though growing rapidly. (The rest is attributable to telecoms and printers.)
The solution? Simple software to put these units in "sleep mode" or power them down when not in use. In other words, turning out the light when the room is empty — for the Internet age.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Earth Day was founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin. At the University of Wisconsin, the Nelson Institute coordinates research and outreach activities designed to provide information and increase our knowledge about issues of sustainability and the environment. See the Nelson Institute's website at for information about today's events.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

American Assocation of Public Health Agencies Sees Climate Change as a Threat to Public Health

This year the American Assocation of Public Health Agencies has chosen to focus on climate change. For National Public Health Week (April 7-13, 2008), APHA has issued a downloadable toolkit and informational brochure, both available at

Information professionals can help spread awareness of this public health initiative!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Announcement: UW Gaia Project

The UW-Madison has started a new project of faculty and staff "learning-action communities" around climate change and sustainability issues: the Gaia Project. Here's the description:

The UW Gaia Project is an action-learning community for faculty and academic staff who are concerned about issues related to sustainability and global climate change. The Project offers participants the opportunity to learn about these critical issues and to take action on a personal, professional, campus, and community levels to address them.

Learning/Action groups are planned with a variety of different emphases within the area of sustainability and energy issues. The topics given below received the highest levels of interest in the initial survey. While they have substantial overlap, this range is intended to allow participants to meet with other UW community members with similar interests. Depending on enrollment and scheduling constraints, there may be more than one group in particular areas. In addition, small special-interest groups may spin off from many of these as participant interest dictates

Visit their web site for details on these learning-action groups which are forming now.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Focus the Nation

A countrywide Focus the Nation event will take place on Jan 30-31. It is described at

It is a major effort involving over 1400 universities, colleges, schools and other groups to focus political attention on the overarching problem of industrial society in the 21st century : Global Warming.

You can see Chancellor Wiley's statement at