In the few weeks I’ve been working in the MN History Center building so far, I’ve noticed some of the visible things that are helping to reduce resource use and encourage sustainable behavior- like the water bottle filling stations that make it easy to bring your own reusable bottle rather than a disposable plastic bottle and the junk mail reduction campaign posters. I was interested in hearing more about some of the behind-the-scenes (or in-the-mechanical-room) actions that are resulting in such impressive savings throughout the MHS. Last week I talked with Karen Nichols, Facilities Manager here at the MN History Center and Green Team member, to learn about initiatives in the building to save energy, water and waste.
Shortly after I sat down, Karen proudly shared with me that the MN History Center has seen the biggest savings of any building in the State Capitol Complex. Part of the impetus for making these building improvements was based on an Executive Order from the Governor, to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in state facilities. The energy consumption for all buildings in the Capitol complex is tracked through the State of Minnesota Plant Management Division at the Department of Administration. Based on those numbers, the Minnesota History Center has seen a nearly 60% savings in energy usage over the past 6 years, significantly more than other state facilities and above and beyond the goal of the Executive Order (1). This is especially significant given that in 2005 the History Center was the Capitol Complex building with the highest total energy use.
We are very lucky to have Julia Eagles join our sustainability team this spring. She is currently a graduate student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the U and will be providing her skills to help us communicate our sustainability program and its associated metrics. Below she has written a brief narrative about herself, so be sure to stop by the intern workstation area on level 4 to welcome her and introduce yourselves. Welcome, Julia!
Hi everyone! My name is Julia Eagles and I am the new Sustainability Intern here at the Minnesota Historical Society. As part of my internship this spring I’ll be blogging here, producing information graphics and other visual communications about the More for the Mission campaign and helping to plan events. I hope through this position to increase my (and hopefully your) awareness of sustainability implementation and measurement, particularly in the context of the museum and historic sites. I’m excited to be joining the MHS team, especially in supporting efforts to make the Historical Society more sustainable! Since I’ll be posting here pretty regularly this spring, I thought I would tell you a little bit more about myself and how I got here.
Thanks to those of you who attended the More for the Mission and Minnesota's Energy Evolution event on December 11, 2012. Despite the icy roads, we had a good turn-out, and a great discussion afterwards.
For those that you that may have missed the event, or that would like to rewatch the lectures, below is the recording of all the presentations - an introduction to the More for the Mission program at the MHS, an introduction to Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE), Minnesota's Energy Evolution, and a case study of the Minnesota History Center's energy efficiency efforts.
This guest blog post is by Angela Vreeland and Chris Plum from Center for Energy and Environment (CEE). Angela is a project engineer for the Public Buildings Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program (PBEEEP). Chris is a Program Manager at CEE and is the Program Manager of the State Government Public Buildings Energy Efficiency Enhancement Program (State PBEEEP). CEE will be presenting on the Evolution of Energy in Minnesota at the More for the Mission event on December 11, 2012. To find out more and register for the More for the Mission event, re-visit this blog post.
The Minnesota History Center is a relatively new building which is primarily used as a museum, with public areas, exhibition spaces, classrooms, storage spaces for valuable artifacts, a library and conservation laboratories. Several hundred thousand people visit the History Center every year, about half of them in school groups. The building was built to the Minnesota Building Code and its energy use of 160 kBtu/square foot (about $2 per square foot) was typical of many museums. It was nonetheless noteworthy in 2005 as the building on the capitol complex with the highest total energy use. Not only is that no longer true, but the building now uses the same amount of energy as an average building in the Capitol complex and less than many office buildings in the Upper Midwest.
What did the staff that manages the state’s buildings (the Division of Plant Management in the Department of Administration) do to achieve these impressive results? Read more...
We were given the opportunity to speak at the 2012 Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change conference, this week in Sacramento, California. The conference is extremely timely, as recent cases of extreme weather that are now being attributed by many mainstream media sources as possible proof of climate change, such as in Bloomberg Businessweek’s cover article – “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”
Perhaps it was the nice weather in Sacramento, an ideal sunny 60s during the day, but the atmosphere at the conference was much less gloomy than the article, but no less important in the message. Over 700 professionals, scientists from many fields, and even utility companies gathered at the event to discuss new research and practices on energy-savings strategies that involve behavioral change. As our More for the Mission campaign develops, this conference was a great opportunity to hear other case studies, and research on how best to enact lasting change towards energy reductions. In particular, even the panel that we presented and spoke on focused on so many different approaches and scales of energy-efficiency, it was hard not to think of the potential for our organization and the More for the Mission project.
The Minnesota Historical Society invites you to join distinguished researchers from the Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE) for an exciting presentation reviewing Minnesota’s Energy Evolution in a reception and lecture, December 11, 2012 from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Minnesota History Center.
This engaging event will review the history of energy in Minnesota, highlighting the milestones, people, and energy sources used over the years. The presentation includes a dynamic Energy Timeline, outlining our energy past and leading us to envision our energy future.
Come early to discuss Minnesota’s energy past and future with MHS members, energy professionals, energy scholars, and energy policy analysts. Add your voice to the conversation over free refreshments.
This event is sponsored by The Minnesota Historical Society’s sustainability program More for the Mission, which is actively engaged at all of our sites in saving energy, reducing costs, and improving efficiencies.
Do you track sustainability in a museum or historic site? The American Alliance of Museums' PIC-Green would like to find out more about what museums are using to implement sustainability in their operations and buildings. PIC-Green is a professional interest committee within the American Alliance of Museums that aims to establish museums as leaders in environmental stewardship and sustainability through education, advocacy, and service.
Please fill out this survey and share your experience tracking sustainability performance in your museums. This may include formal certifications, like LEED, or other sustainability metrics, like carbon footprints. We'd love to hear from in-house sustainability officers, consultants, or design professionals that have worked in museums. All scales of museums are welcome - from the small historic house to a large institution!
While the map of the overall GHG emissions shows relative priority should go to the largest sites in the urban areas, there is more to draw from the data. Analyzing the GHG emissions further, and incorporating the size of the building as well as occupancy helps us to discover the importance of small sites in an organization-wide sustainability effort that spans many geographically and historically diverse sites.
One of the advantages of quantifying sustainability is the ability to benchmark, or compare across buildings or sites. When looking at greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the Minnesota Historical Society’s 26 historic sites, you can quickly see the relative environmental impacts of each site. The map below shows both the GHG emissions and locations of 19 sites included in the fiscal year 2010 sustainability audit.
The More for the Mission campaign centers around the institutional sustainability program at the Minnesota Historical Society. Recently, we have hit the 2 year milestone for the program, and the MHS Green Team has been working hard to not only track our sustianability efforts, but also to implement strategies that will save the institution money as well as reduce our environmental impacts.
The More for the Mission campaign helps the MHS achieve it's mission by controlling overhead costs. (Source: MHS Green Team)
However, as a history organization, we haven't really taken the time to share our history during these last 2 years. As such, this week's blog post looks at the origins of the MHS Green Team, the sustainability vision, and the significance of sustainability on our mission.
This piece is Rosaura Ramo’s last blog post for our Institutional Sustainability blog. She is currently studying Architecture and Art at the University of Minnesota, where she will be a junior this year. This post is inspired by a lecture from one of her fall classes, Introduction to Heritage Preservation, taught by Greg Donofrio. Thanks and good luck to our great summer intern!
Heritage preservation is a way in which way we preserve the past. While the term is mostly defined as preserving or restoring buildings and monuments of the past, the most important part is keeping that moment in history alive. To remember why we preserved such object or building gives the community understanding of its significance in history. It also gives future generations a sense of of their own history and connection to their community.