[Greener Museums Newsletter] Unlocking Sustainable Innovation

[Greener Museums Newsletter] Unlocking Sustainable Innovation

Sent Tuesday, May 31, 2011


What a busy past few months! My book is nearly ready for

publication, I was the keynote speaker at Green Art Strategies for

the Nordic Scene (see Swedish press here, here and here) and I’m

getting ready for the seminar I’m co-hosting with my partners at

PLB Ltd. We’re also busy getting ready for to launch the second

Greener Museums Sustainability Leadership Programme. Last year our

participants identified over £250,000 in immediate savings and over

£600,000 in total social return. I’m really excited about our

upcoming programme. You’ll be able to learn more next month, keep

an eye on your inbox!


This month’s newsletter offers a simple suggestion on how to save

energy. You can see the results of such actions in this month’s

Client Success Story.


Finally, the UK’s Heritage Lottery Fund consultation period closes

on April 26th. If you are in the UK, I encourage you to visit their

website and participate in the consultation–there are questions

about sustainability and climate change that I think are important

for you to respond to.


To your greener future,

Rachel Madan, Director of Greener Museums



Here’s what’s in this issue:


* Client Success Story: Harris Museum & Art Gallery

* Feature Article: Let there be light! (but only when necessary)

* Upcoming Events, Workshops and Courses

* About Rachel Madan



Best wishes,


Rachel Madan



Client Success Story: Harris Museum & Art Gallery

Lynsey Jones was a participant in the Greener Museums 2010

Sustainability Leadership Program. Her participation was funded by

Renaissance North West.


Before joining the Greener Museums Sustainability Leadership

Programme, “We knew in general that being sustainable was a good

thing to be and that we should be doing it, but our approach wasn’t

formal or systematic. Staff did their bit by setting up recycling

facilities in the office, but we didn’t have a sustainability

strategy or policies for the museum and weren’t aware in detail of

the Council’s wider sustainability strategy.” Within one month of

starting the Greener Museums Sustainability Leadership Programme,

Lynsey had set up a Green Champions Network. She briefed the Green

Champions on the Harris Museum’s Carbon Footprint and utility

consumption. “I think finding out how much we spent last year on

utilities shocked us.” Therefore, Lynsey’s first campaign with the

Green Champions Network focused on electricity. Simple but

effective measures are helping–not turning on the public computers

in the library until just before opening time; having one strip of

fluorescent lighting permanently on in the basement; switching on

other lights only when staff need access to the basement library.

This has resulted in a 13% drop in electricity consumption in

comparison to the same period in 2009, which is equivalent to a

reduction of four tonnes of carbon, and a savings of approximately

£5,500 per year.


Before participating in the programme, Lynsey says, “my own level

of understanding was probably average — a good grasp of the

general issues but not of the detail, and I wouldn’t have been

comfortable talking about sustainability in any detail. Now, I have

a greater understanding of the issues and more detailed knowledge.

The support from Greener Museums is great, it’s practical with a

good understanding of the particular issues applying to museums and

sustainability. My biggest a-ha moment was knowing that the

goodwill is here at my museum to make a difference.”



Let there be light! (but only when necessary)


A simple, yet often overlooked method of saving energy is by simply

turning things off! With those gloomy mornings and long dark

afternoons becoming a distant memory, now is the perfect time to

start considering leaving the lights off for the day (or at the

very least only turning them on when you have to). And if the

obvious environmental benefit is not enough to persuade you, how

about considering that turning off the lights that are not needed

could save hundreds on your electricity bills each year.


Start a simple campaign to get staff to consider if they need the

light on before they turn it on. Ask them to sit at their desk when

they first arrive at work to allow them to adjust to the light.

This way they will start to consider if they really needed the

light on, or if they were reaching for the switch as result of a

winter habit.


One organisation I worked at placed a sticker on each light switch

in the office that simply said ‘think’. This resulted in each

employee genuinely considering if it was necessary to turn the

light on each time they did so. You would be amazed how quickly

this gentle reminder turned in to habit.


While on the subject of light, there are further savings to be

made. Switching to energy efficient light bulbs will mean you use

just 50% of the energy of traditional bulbs, and what’s more, they

can last up to 15 times longer than their predecessors. With price

parity between traditional and energy efficient bulbs, the decision

to swap is a virtual no brainer.