[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
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
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.