Reader's view: Cheaper alternatives exist to fix library problems
A headline on the March 8 Opinion page urged readers to, "Trust experts, move forward with planning," regarding recommendations for a new downtown Duluth public library. Well, the experts told us the Great Lakes Aquarium would be a great success....
A headline on the March 8 Opinion page urged readers to, “Trust experts, move forward with planning,” regarding recommendations for a new downtown Duluth public library. Well, the experts told us the Great Lakes Aquarium would be a great success. And the experts assured us the Red Plan would save the Duluth school district loads of money. We all know how those schemes turned out.
I have learned to be wary when the experts tell us the library is wasting $75,000 a year in energy. It probably is considerably less than that. Could the library be more energy efficient? No doubt. But as a letter to the editor said, building a new library for $34.7 million to save an assumed $75,000 in annual energy costs would take 462 years to break even. The library has a flat roof, and most energy losses are through the roof of a structure. Adding significant insulation to the roof and maybe new windows likely would reduce energy consumption by a considerable amount. The payback on that investment probably could be measured in 10 years or less.
Moreover, when a local architectural firm makes projections and studies, isn’t that firm the prime candidate to design the new library? That seems to be a potential conflict of interest. At the least, that firm should be excluded from receiving any contracts for design work.
How many people will tear their house down and build a new house because they have high energy costs? Most reasonable people would invest in more insulation and other energy efficiencies.
I think the present library could be upgraded for significantly less than $34.7 million. Let’s go that route. If it comes
to a referendum to raise
$34.7 million for a new library, I will vote no.