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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: Climate Change

Today in the blogosphere is Blog Action Day on Climate Change. We're not an officially registered Blog Action Day blog, but we'd like to talk about the "green" changes we're trying to implement in the Museum.

While we could do so much more, our main focus at the moment is consuming less. We think this is a great way to ease the entire institution into more eco-friendly practices. This applies to everything from office supplies, to electricity, to water and anything else we can think of. While the entire staff is trying to use less paper over-all by going digital as much as possible, the Curatorial staff is going one step further and reusing paper that has only been printed on one side. One drawer in our printer is dedicated to holding this paper for use on non-confidential things that have to be printed but don't need to be printed on a virgin piece of paper. This small step will save us reams of paper a year! We hope to introduce it to the wider staff as time goes on.

Another area we are truly dedicated to consuming less, is with electricity. As a non-profit institution we need to closely watch all of our unnecessary spending. One thing we can easily do is use less electricity by turning off the lights in our offices when we're not in them. A step further is to turn off the lights in the exhibition spaces when no one is in them! This we'd like to achieve by using motion sensors to detect when a visitor is viewing the exhibits, turning on especially for them and then turn off when they leave. The trick is to not leave anyone in the dark! With some tweaking, we think we can achieve this and cut our energy usage in half!

Our final area of interest at the moment, is exhibit building materials. New sustainable building materials are available, such as Wheatboard in place of formaldehyde-laden MDF, canvas instead of vinyl banners, and zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint. Some of these are more costly than their counterparts, but if it makes the Museum a healthier place to visit and work, then we are dedicated to delivering that.

We are excited to see the new eco-friendly products available to us, and we hope that in the future they are no longer considered speciality items, but instead, standard practice. Are you making earth-friendly choices at home or at work? Tell us about it! Give us more ideas where we can improve ourselves!

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