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Take the Stairs Update

Two weeks ago the More for the Mission campaign rolled out our ‘Take the Stairs’ initiative. We set out to promote a healthy work environment while conserving both time and energy.

Since the start of the campaign we have received several questions about some of the statistics present on the postcards. Below are some of the statistics we discovered while collecting information about the elevators.


MNHS Take the Stairs Campaign

As the new year rolls around many people are thinking of their New Year’s resolutions. Over the next couple weeks staff members will begin to see posters about taking the stairs throughout the History Center. As you think about your New year’s resolution a simple action would be participating in the More for the Mission Take the Stairs campaign!

Did you know that the average wait time for an elevator at the History Center is 20 seconds?


Ergonomics at your workstation

The importance of a healthy indoor environment was discussed in our previous blog post. Although most of the things discussed previously are hard to accomplish as a staff member there are things that you can do to make your workspace a more productive and comfortable environment. One of these things is ergonomics, or workplace equipment design that is meant to reduce fatigue and increase productivity.


Workplace Well-being - Indoor Environmental Quality

As mentioned in the previous blog post, corporate and institutional sustainability reports should cover all three pillars of sustainability. Social sustainability can be seen as the hardest topic to address, but is essential to creating an engaged work community. One area an institution can be socially sustainable is maintaining a healthy work environment for its staff members.


Sustainability Reporting Guidelines

During the past few weeks of my internship at MHS I have begun to draw parallels between how MHS operates compared to the University of Minnesota, my other place of employment. Working in two different office settings has allowed me to see how both institutions are similar and different. A parallel that relates directly to my work are the sustainability initiatives and engagement campaigns at both institutions. Having been at the U for 5 years I have grown accustomed to their campaigns, almost forgetting the signs to turn off the light even exist.


Highlights from APT New York 2013

This year’s Association for Preservation Technology International Conference was in Times Square, New York.   While it was my first time at an APT Conference, I was still very impressed with the level of discussion starting with a great keynote on local conservation issues to a great panel on education and sustainability in heritage preservation on the last day.  I also had the pleasure of presenting on a panel on American and European perspectives on energy efficiency and historic preservation.  The following post includes some highlights from my panel as well as other sessions. 


Our new Sustainability Intern

Hi everyone, my name is Cara Prosser and I am the new Sustainability Intern at the Minnesota Historical Society. I will be working with Shengyin over the next few months on the More for the Mission campaign at MHS. I hope to learn how an organization like MHS integrates sustainability into planning and engages staff about sustainability initiatives.


Water Quality - Softening and Sustainability Issues

Water quality is often overlooked when thinking about water sustainability, but the quality of treated water has a large impact both at the building scale and at the ecosystem scale.  Water softening, which is usually the method for mitigating hard water sources, is not just an issue for building users, but has a large impact on energy use and water quality at a community or regional level.  Some areas with a very hard water supply find that salt-based water softening systems contribute to salinity of natural water bodies, which not only alters water ecosystems, but has impacts for reuse of water in agriculture or municipal water supplies.  For example, irrigating with high salinity water can reduce crop yields, which can be even more problematic as agricultural fertilizer runoff can also contribute to water salinity.  Further, some communities where conventional salt-based systems are very popular have found that municipal water treatment plants have experienced increased costs from having to mitigate higher salinity water.  


Happy Bike Walk Week!

Bike Walk Week, the Twin Cities' annual celebration of biking and walking, is next week! Are you ready?

If you signed up for the Commuter Challenge back in April, this is a great time for you to make good on your pledge.  All it takes is going by foot or by bike for a trip you would usually drive during the week of June 9th.  It doesn't have to be a long trip, and it doesn't even have to be your commute to work, we just ask that you try leaving your car behind to get from point A to point B.


AAM Annual Meeting Sustainability Wrap-Up

What a great time at the 2013 AAM Annual Meeting last week in Baltimore!   Among the many highlights of the conference was the new app that organized all program and session information alongside social media and notifications.  This was the first year for the app, so there were still print programs, but there will be some great paper savings next year.  At a larger scale, though, sustainability was featured all throughout the conference.  As a new co-chair on Professional Interest Committee on Green, I met many leaders in sustainability that are doing great conservation work in their own businesses or in museums.   Also, the Summit on Sustainability Standards in Museums produced a great discussion on the challenges and benefits of standardization.  

PIC-Green's MuseumExpo booth.

PIC-Green's MuseumExpo booth at the AAM 2013 Annual Meeting.  Pictured are our very own Matt Hill, and Luke Leyh from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (photo credit: PIC-Green).