[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
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
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.