Letters to the editor 

Norwegians have a simple solution

I read about the library shortfalls with interest and that "unexpectedly" high energy costs are a key problem. I am reminded every time I walk past the building of how we allow technology i.e. "LEED" ratings and heat pumps, to trump grandma's simplicity.

Example: in Norway, a wealthy country high in latitude blessed with oil, hydroelectricity and "smarts," their windows come with shutters, then double or triple pane glass, then fitted insulating curtains.... Our library has expansive architectural glass. Let's guess a typical insulating R factor of 2 to 4. What if the last person out pushed a Norwegian button and closed some curtains or cellular blinds at night to boost the insulation R factor to say 7.5?

Would a 200 to 300 per cent reduction in night time window energy bleed save $28,000 per year do you think... allowing for the expected seven-day a week return on capital?

Just wondering... West Vancouver Library shares this pain by the way.

A Rowland

Vancouver

 

Balancing acts

Councilor Chris Quinlan was mistaken in a recent Pique story on the library budget when he said, "A computer draws a huge amount of power, a phenomenal amount of power, and there are a number of computers in there," and that, "There has to be some sort of contribution for that amenity... to actually go and draw power and have the use of the Internet, and that is all subsidized by the taxpayers, then we have to look at things that are outside of the box."

Unless you work for Pixar, the average home PC only draws about 250 W per hour, or about a quarter of what it takes to run a coffee maker. Doing a quick calculation using the top residential electrical rate of $0.09 per kWh, it takes a maximum of $0.18 to run a PC for an eight-hour day, hardly a huge drain on the public purse.

What's more disturbing is the idea coming from municipal hall that everything needs to be monetized. Facing a looming revolt from property taxpayers, it's easy to see why council would want to shift some of the burden onto the community amenities. While the idea of charging for computer time at the library (although there's a temporary grey area in the Library Act, it clearly goes against the intent of the law) is being floated, there are other revenue streams the RMOW is looking at as well. The proposed transit hub, basically a mini bus depot, is planned to be "revenue self-sustaining," which I take to mean that there will be a fee charged to either the bus operators or passengers for its use. If you think pay parking was damaging to village business, imagine the effect if the RMOW slaps a user fee onto tour operators from Surrey and Richmond. What's next: coin slots on public washrooms?

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