Are you taking advantage of free energy?
Sent Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I’ve had a whirlwind week, giving the keynote
address for the Museums, Sustainability and Growth Conference,
followed by a presentation to the Social History Curators Group.
Bill Seaman, one of the Conference organisers writes, “Many thanks
for your keynote speech at the Museums, Sustainability and Growth
Conference last week. This was a timely and revealing
contextualisation of the whole sustainability movement and the role
museums uniquely can play. The slow movement you mentioned was
discussed afterwards and the adaptation to slow funding was
suggested – spreading the funding and the outputs over longer
periods – perhaps more in tune with human/community development and
avoiding the tyranny of the financial year! Also the need to ‘take
charge’ in a world of uncertainty. Well its certainly that at the
moment and I’m sure you inspired many delegates to take charge of
their futures.” What a way to start of this month’s newsletter!
To your greener future,
Rachel Madan, Director of Greener Museums
Here’s what’s in this issue:
* Are you taking advantage of free energy?
* Sustainability Assessment Opportunity
* About Rachel Madan
Are you taking advantage of free energy?
It’s summer and it’s sunny (unless you are one of my Southern
Hemisphere subscribers–sorry!). Are you taking advantage of this
free source of lighting? Using natural light for your offices is
often referred to as ‘daylightiGreener Museums – Image 1ng,’
describing the practice of placing windows or other openings and
reflective surfaces so that during the day, natural light provides
effective internal lighting. Although this is most applicable when
designing and building a space the ideals of daylighting should be
incorporated into all office environments. If your gallery spaces
do not have light sensitive objects, you can make use of daylight
in galleries, too.
The benefits of making use of daylight include:
* Reduced carbon emissions and costs from leaving the lights
on. Offices incorporating daylighting achieve energy savings of
* Higher retail sales. In an experiment conducted by Wal-Mart,
stores that included skylights over certain departments found that
overall sales per square foot were higher in the departments lit by
* Increased staff productivity due to increased satisfaction
and visual comfort. According to a daylighting and work performance
study by the California Energy Commission, exposure to daylight was
consistently linked with a higher level of concentration and better
short-term memory recall
In other words it makes us happier and we work better! Obviously
the best time to incorporate daylighting into a building is at the
design stage. Once the building is built, increasing awareness
about the benefits of daylighting help staff to take advantage of
what natural light they have.
First, take a look around and see whether you are making the most
of the natural light. Are your blinds shut or a skylight covered
up? They may be closed-up for a reason, like glare, but screen
covers can be used to compensate for that while you get the
opportunity to be bathed in natural light (far more flattering than
overhead fluorescent lighting).
Even if you have the blinds open you may turn the light on in the
morning if it is still a bit dark. It can be very easy to leave
the lights on throughout the day as it no longer makes any
difference to light levels. Set a reminder on your calendar to
check the lights when it may be time to turn them off – gives
plenty of time for the sun to reach over any buildings that might
be blocking the light. Eventually it will become second nature to
check and turn them off.
More museums are starting to take advantage of daylighting outside
of the office and in the gallery. This year’s International
Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) Awards recognised The New
Acropolis Museum in Athens and the Art Institute of Chicago’s
Modern Wing. The New Acropolis Museum won the Award of Excellence
and the Sustainability Award (the only project granted the award in
2010). The Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing received a
Special Citation, recognised for creatively integrating daylighting
in a museum setting. So as you see it can be done!