Go Virtually Green in December

[Greener Museums Newsletter] Go Virtually Green in December

Sent Monday, December 19, 2011


Welcome to December! It’s almost 2012! Things always get hectic at

this time of year, followed by a slow and reflective holiday season

(I hope) where everything very nearly grinds to a halt. This

newsletter is packed with great content to either keep you busy

during a slow moment, or give you a break from the hectic pace of

it all. In addition, you may want to check out my article in Green

Building and Design Magazine (located on page 27). I wish you the

very best for next year, and some exciting changes are coming to

Greener Museums, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled in 2012.


To your greener future,


Rachel Madan, Director of Greener Museums



Here’s what’s in this issue:


Feature Article: Virtually Green

Apply for the M&H Sustainability Awards

Recommended Reading



Best wishes,


Apply for the M&H Sustainability Awards

For the past two years I have assisted my colleagues at the Museums

and Heritage Show by presenting on sustainability topics. I’m

pleased to announce that this year’s Museums and Heritage Awards

includes a new category for Sustainability, sponsored by my friends

at PLB.


This new category will award a project which best demonstrates the

most successful balance of environmental, economic and/or social

benefit through its approach and outcomes. Attention should be paid

both to demonstrating the sustainable aims of the project and to

evidencing how these were delivered through, for example,

innovative approaches to recycling and reuse, use of local and/or

ethical resources, energy efficiency, community impacts or cost



I encourage all readers and especially Greener Museums clients to

apply!! Read more here.




Go Virtually Green


With harsh weather on our doorstep, this month I’ll explore some

opportunities to work from home and avoid the mess on the roads. In

the last few years there has been a surge the popularity of

employees working from home. With continuous advances in internet

and mobile technology, alongside the shifting lifestyle

requirements of the modern workforce, it has become increasingly

easy for organisations to adopt this flexible approach to their



While there is little doubt that this move towards ‘virtual’

organisations is primarily cost driven, there is an added benefit

for the environment. Consider the fuel saved if an employee does

not travel in to a central office each day. Consider the benefits

of not having to run, heat and power a large office to accommodate

every employee. Consider the positive impact this can have on the



For a museum, however, a physical presence is not a luxury, it is a

necessity, a fact that cannot be avoided. But just because it is

not feasible to become a completely ‘virtual’ organisation, this

does not mean that it is impossible to transfer at least some of

these philosophies into the cultural sector.


Ask yourself if there are any departments that can benefit from

home working, even if this is for just a couple of days each week

rather than on a permanent basis. Often it is the supporting

functions, such as finance, marketing and other administrative

roles that are capable of working remotely in an effective way.

These departments can communicate via email and telephone to

achieve what can be achieved in work, but with the added

environmental benefits, as well as cost savings.


Many organisations, especially in the public sector, are taking

this a step further and are starting to adopt a ‘hot-desking’

principle. Do remote workers need a desk each? Can they come in to

the office on alternate days and therefore use the desk space?


It is, unfortunately, not as straightforward as simply telling

employees not to come in to the office. Employees will need to be

re-trained to work from home. New management and supervisory

practices will need to be put in place to make sure efficiency and

accuracy is maintained when they are not in the office. In

addition, equipment, such as laptops, mobile phones and internet

access, will likely be required and this of course does mean costs.


Despite this, there are savings to be made. Cars can remain unused

and lights, heaters and computers can be turned off for the day.

The environmental impact of this is immediate, and the cost savings

will balance out in time.


While virtual working is not possible for all job roles, and may

not be relevant to all organisations, there are genuine cost and

environmental savings to be made. The increasing number of

companies in all sectors that are beginning to adopt this

progressive and flexible business model are testament to this.