Stewarding Your Investment

Since 2014, we have been asking Oak Park, “What kind of community do you want to live in?

Your replies have informed changes big and small. They have focused action on three priorities: to engage, to learn, and to steward.

One ongoing, behind-the-scenes example involves a capital assets study—essential to stewardship of the library’s largest asset: the Main Library building at 834 Lake St., which will be 15 years old in October 2018.

Proactive maintenance, renovation

In 2016, library staff reached out to the Main Library’s original architects, Nagle Hartray Architecture. The ask: assemble a comprehensive study for library buildings and grounds of the Main Library and Maze Branch. (Dole Branch Library was not included because its space in the Dole Learning Center is rented from the Village of Oak Park.)

The six-month process resulted in a detailed on-site visual inspection of select building components and public spaces. Recommendations—for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years—were based on best practices using common evaluation methods and metrics.

Reducing energy consumption

“By completing this process, we learned about technologies developed after 2003 that result in much greater energy efficiencies today,” said Deputy Director Jim Madigan. “One of the primary goals when constructing the Main Library was to carry environmental stewardship forward,” Madigan said, adding “this report gives us the opportunity to reduce the building’s energy consumption.

“We also learned retro-commissioning the heating and cooling systems was the No. 1 thing we could do to have the biggest impact,” Madigan said.

As a result, previous practices are being changed during transitional seasons to fix temperature swings and internal/external air pressure differences.

“In 2018, we are scheduling work that will result in as much as a 30 percent savings on the library’s natural gas bill. That translates into at least $28,000, possibly more,” Madigan said.

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