UBC Undergraduate Research

Sustainability of UBC's on-site records storage facility Nimry, Hana


The University of British Columbia currently uses a number of commercial providers for off campus paper records storage. However due to time, financial and environmental inefficiencies the University Archives has commenced in incorporating an on-site repository, in hopes of fostering better records management. The on-site facility located at the Preservation and Archives Library (PARC) on the south side of the UBC campus is sought to also have the advantage of being environmentally and economically more sustainable. In this report, a detailed investigation and comparison is conducted with the interest of justifying how the shift to an on-site facility is advantageous compared to current services. A special focus is placed on three core elements: transportation, centralized shredding and recycling and storage space effectiveness, as well as on components that can further the sustainability of the anticipated facility. Based on the literature I have encountered, interviews conducted and recommendations presented, I am now able to validate that an on-site facility can indeed be environmentally and subsequently economically advantageous. A 70.7 per cent annual decrease in carbon dioxide equivalent emissions can be obtained by switching to an onsite facility, using medium-sized vans and installing centralized shredding. Placing retentions periods, removing fees related to disposition, understanding and incorporating better management of paper and electronic records, enables PARC Library to optimize storage space and decrease costs and emissions. An additional 59 per cent decrease can potentially be attained by integrating hybrid-electric vehicles instead of petro-engine vehicles and using the on campus Material Recycling Facility depot as opposed to relying on off site services.

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