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Flip the Switch


Flip the Switch Energy Conservation at Queens Library

Energy costs are a big part of New York City’s budget — $858 million a year — and its three library systems make up a huge chunk of that utility bill — $15 million! Here at the Queens Library, our total energy cost for our last fiscal year was over $3 million, a 12 percent increase from the previous year. 

According to a recent benchmarking report, we provide heat to nearly 900,000 square feet in order to accommodate our customers. And we consumed a total of 104,378 BTUs during our last fiscal year — a 16.8 percent increase from the previous year.

We knew that we had to work on reducing those costs — and our own effect on our global climate.

Conserving energy use in New York City will not only save taxpayers money, but help our city’s environmental future — especially after Hurricane Sandy. 

Our city’s leaders are doing their part with the PlanNYC 2030 campaign, and QPL wants to help them “Flip The Switch” on our city’s energy costs.

That’s why we joined the FY15 Energy Competition, sponsored by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ Division of Energy Management (DCAS DEM). We showed City officials how we can change the way that the Queens Library uses energy, and won $50,000 to do just that!

We were one of seven winners, including the Department of Education, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Corrections, the Fire Department of New York and DCAS. We’re proud that Queens Library was the only NYC library system chosen for this project.

Now comes the fun part — we’ve chosen 13 QPL community libraries, and each one will try to cut their energy costs and make energy-saving, sustainable improvements to their buildings.

We will reward the community library that does the most to save energy — and we want you to cheer them on as they do!

How The Competition Works

The timeline for the competition is December 1, 2014 to April 15, 2015. Final reports on the competition’s results are due to DCAS DEM by July 1, 2015.

Whichever community library can reduce its energy usage by the highest percentage compared to the amount it used the previous year wins. Each library must also meet the challenge of offering programs teaching our customers about the importance of energy conservation.

During the competition, each of the 13 community libraries will cut their energy use by

  • setting their computers to sleep when they’re not being used
  • turning computers, printers and copiers off after hours
  • installing energy-friendly light bulbs
  • using smart strip power cords to cut down on “vampire power”
  • caulking and weather-stripping windows to cut down on heat loss
  • and much more!

Our customers can do their part too! 

  • Give energy-saving suggestions to your community library staff
  • Track your community library’s progress!

While the winner will receive a great award for their progress, we will all win when each community library does their part to cut down on energy costs.

Let’s do our part to Flip The Switch on energy waste!