- Reduce floor area: A major determinate of cost and environmental impact of a building is size: the bigger the building, the higher the financial and ecological cost. I suggest using a higher density of seating than is usual in learning commons: twice that currently used in the University of Canberra library. This can be done by using compact computers, carefully positioning seating and interspersing desktop and laptop positions. A space allocation of 2 m2 per student could be achieved with careful design. This could halve the cost of facility.
- Separate Air Conditioning: As the learning commons will be open when the rest of the library is closed, a separate air conditioning system should be used, which just conditions that floor. This will save having to heat or cool the whole building, as is done at present. If there are several enclosed rooms, these can be air conditioned separately, so unused rooms are not conditioned.
- Automated lights: Normally libraries leave all lights on when any of the building is open, even when large areas are unused. Lights should shift to a lower power setting when an area is unoccupied and switch back to full power when someone enters. This can be done much more simply with LED lights than with fluorescent lights. It should be noted that lights should not switch off completely in open plan areas for safety reasons. Lights can switch off in closed rooms when they are unoccupied and on again when the door is opened.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Saving money and energy in the learning commons
The University of Canberra is remodelling one floor of its library into a Learning Commons. Library users were asked for input so I should put in some comments, about the use of furniture, computers and lighting. Here are some more comments about floor space, air conditioning and lights: