Green watch: February 2009

Maurice Davies, Issue 109/2, p9, February 2009
More museums are to benefit from the Green Museums scheme, which provides one-to-one advice from energy-efficiency experts from environmental charity Groundwork. So far, six museums have taken part in the scheme. One said that the site visit by experts was "incredibly useful".

Typical recommendations in the subsequent reports included replacing halogen and incandescent lighting with fluorescents or LEDs. Better control of heating with timers and zoning was also recommended, as was trying to avoid electric heating. The reports are only the first step and far more help will be needed if museums are to make significant progress over the next few years.

The snag is that only another handful of museums and galleries will get tailored Green Museums support and it's available only to those in the East Midlands. Museums, Libraries and Archives East Midlands and the East Midlands hub were far-sighted enough to put energy saving into their last Renaissance business plan - and have got it approved as part of the next one.

Museums in other parts of England will be able to use the Green Museums' free guide when it's published. Until then museums should be asking what their hub is doing to help them become greener and putting pressure on the MLA to come up with a nationwide initiative. Museum-support agencies in other areas should learn from the East Midland's example.

Maurice Davies is the deputy director of the Museums Association

A seminar on energy efficiency and historic buildings is being held at the Weald and Downland Museum on 6 February. Log on to www.wealddown.co.uk or call 01243 811931 for details.
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A seminar on energy efficiency and historic buildings is being held at the Weald and Downland Museum on 6 February. Log on to www.wealddown.co.uk or call 01243 811931 for details.