Upper Arlington News

Library completes $2.5 million energy initiative


The Upper Arlington Public Library has completed a multimillion-dollar energy-conservation project at two local branches that officials say will also enhance patrons' visits.

The library hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 19 to commemorate the completion of $2.5 million in upgrades to replace outdated lighting at its Lane Road branch, as well as the installation of new lights and a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at the main branch.

The work was part of an energy-conservation project launched in November. It was funded using a portion of a voter-approved levy and library funding that comes from Franklin County.

The library also set aside money in recent years to finance the work.

"Prior to jumping into this project, we saved for about three years," said Kate Hemleben, UAPL fiscal officer.

Ameresco Inc., a Columbus-based renewable and energy-efficiency solutions company, conducted the work.

Energy-efficient lighting was installed at both the Lane Road and main branches, and the main library's HVAC system was replaced for the first time since the building opened in 1959.

"(Ameresco) guaranteed about a $40,000 (energy) savings in the first 12 months," Hemleben said.

She added that anticipated fluctuations in energy costs make it difficult for library officials to project future savings, but energy use is expected to decrease by 25 percent.

Additionally, library patrons should notice better climate control at the main library and improved reading light at both facilities.

Last fall, Library Director Chris Taylor said the improved lighting will be most evident at the Lane Road branch and in the main library's media, reference and youth services departments.

"It'll definitely fix the hot and cold spots we had in the (main library) building, and it'll be more regulated," Hemleben said. "We can do a lot more controlling, or regulating, of the temperature of the building. It does also give better lighting."

She said the project sparked a good relationship with Ameresco.

It also furthered the library's shared-services agreements with Upper Arlington schools, which provided staff members to help chart the progress of the HVAC system replacement.