J.D. Williams Library tints windows with view toward sustainability

This Spring, the J.D. Williams Library Green Team contracted True View Window Tinting to install Vista low emissivity (low-e) film on the south-facing library windows to reduce energy consumption and improve the overall comfort level of the library building.

Initially, the library funded a project to cover one large east-facing window earlier in the year. After noticeable results in temperature change, and the overall comfort level for library patrons, they decided to move forward with a proposal to cover more windows.

“We happened upon the window film because we had already used it on the large, east-facing window,” said Buffy Choinski, the Library’s Green Team chair “We realized the window film would fit the UM Green Fund’s purpose in improving operational efficiency.”

It also helped them with their own mission of working within the framework of their strategic goals to help educate library users about the importance of sustainability, and to lead through example by cultivating and environment of sustainable practices in the library.

UM’s Green Fund contributed $5,132 to the project. The Library added an additional $2,500 to meet the overall cost of $7,632 to tint all of the south-facing windows. According to Lonnie Weaver, Assistant Director Physical Plant Systems Technologies, the film can potentially reduce energy costs by up to 40% in 8,000 square feet of space.

One of the biggest advantages to installing the low-e film is its projected return on investment while reducing the University’s carbon footprint in the process.

“The annual energy cost savings that Vista window tint provides allows a building to quickly recoup its costs,” said Choinski. “It seems to be the least expensive, most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency in a large, old building.”

The Green Team is currently collecting data to track any noticeable differences to library energy expenditures. They will continue to work with Lonnie Weaver to monitor electricity use and energy costs. Once they gather enough data, they will compare the data to previous years data. Assuming positive results, they will draft another proposal for covering some additional east-facing windows.

The Green Team and library do not limit themselves to just one sustainability project. They constantly recycle, they have replaced a portion of their light bulbs with more efficient bulbs and they were one of the first buildings on campus to have a water bottle filling station.. They also maintain a Library guide on sustainability.

They are also in the process of creating a blog on sustainability issues and the library.

The library’s Green Team consists of Buffy Choinski, Amanda Bennett, Greg Johnson, Stan Whitehorn and Jing Jing Wu.