This Friday, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) broke ground on a new solar array. The renewable energy will create savings and help the Library System accomplish its goals of operating sustainably and promoting green practices throughout the state. As listed in their sustainability statement, CALS aims to incorporate energy-efficient practices, raise public awareness, and evaluate and report their environmental impact.
In accordance with the first objective, CALS partnered with the Arkansas Energy Office in 2017 to implement an energy savings performance contract, wherein a state-approved company implements energy-efficient upgrades at no cost. CALS chose Entegrity out of Little Rock to audit their facilities and implement the tailored scope of work: LED lighting, water conservation measures, new HVAC equipment, and utility rate corrections. The project, completed under budget, produced enough energy savings to pay for the original project as well as fund a 66kW solar array at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center with the remaining capital. After two years of measurement & verification, the savings created for this initial project have actually exceeded the expected savings amount by more than $30,000.
CALS and Entegrity have partnered for Phase Two: the design and construction of a new, larger array that will further offset energy consumption and create utility savings. The 998kW array with 3,024 modules will track the sun throughout the day to produce maximum energy, resulting in an annual savings of $36,000. Taking into account this new array and the energy efficiency savings from Phase One, CALS will save a total of $5.8 million over the project’s lifetime.
Director of Facilities and Operations Lance Ivy stated, “The decision to continue our project with Entegrity and produce more solar energy for CALS was an easy one. While the onsite array is perfect to increase our patrons’ access to an operating solar facility, this new array will offset the energy consumption of several CALS buildings and create serious savings for us to incorporate new initiatives.” To foster the Library System’s eco-friendly culture even further, the Green Team, a group of CALS staff, spearheads green strategies. New programs include a systemwide recycling program and this year’s monthlong Earth Day celebration complete with upcycled crafting, grab-n-go bags to grow native wildflowers, virtual programming on energy efficiency, and more.