Amgueddfa Cymru has worked closely with bodies such as the Carbon Trust and the Welsh Assembly Government to greatly improve our resource efficiency. You can see our examples of our energy and water use here.
The museum already uses sustainable technologies in a number of areas. At St Fagans National History Museum there is a 5kV solar panel array providing renewable energy to the main building. Tŷ Gwyrdd also supports solar panels along with a ground source heat pump to heat the building. Such technologies are also put to use to help conserve some of our more historic buildings. St Teilos church is a medieval church. When reconstructed a ground heat source pump was installed to provide a sustainable and hidden means of heating the building.
National Waterfront Museum
4 green facts about the building that you might not know:
- Solar heating – we have 6 solar panels on our roof which help heat our hot water.
- Slate wall – the huge Welsh slate wall helps avoid heat gain by the sun from the south facing aspect and acts as an insulator for gallery conditions from the inside.
- Marina Water cooling for the air conditioning - water from the Marina is pumped to the museum and is used as a cooler for the air conditioning. We had a few incidents with prawns clogging up the system initially (seriously!) but that is now resolved.
- Grey water flushing toilets – during wet periods, tanks fill up on the roof and the rain is then used to flush the museum toilets.
The installation of improved plant equipment and controls has greatly improved energy use. An example is the installation of inverter drives with all electric motor drives. Whilst not very exciting to look at, an inverter will allow motor speeds to be controlled and hence the motor will use less energy, significantly reducing electricity consumption.
Monitoring water and energy use
The installation of the STARK ‘automatic metering and testing monitoring system’ (aM&T) web-based system provides important information and analysis of how and when energy is being used at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. Saving energy is easier if patterns of consumption are known and areas for cost savings have already been identified using the aM&T system.
Energy Efficient Lighting
Case lighting in the Art galleries at Cathays Park and at Caerleon is currently being upgraded using new LED lighting. Although the replacement LED fittings are considerably more expensive, the lamps are rated for 50 000 hours (around 14 years of usage) and the energy savings are huge. Recently refurbished art galleries at National Museum Cardiff are also incorporating state of the art LED lighting.
Combined Heat and Power
A new heating boiler was recently installed at National Museum Cardiff, but this is no ordinary boiler – it will supply electricity as well as hot water. This type of boiler is called combined heat-power (CHP) which generates electricity as well as hot water.
This new technology, which is tried and tested, is much more efficient than a conventional boiler. The CHP will save about £90,000 a year and will pay for itself within a few years – after that the museum will save money on energy bills. There are also environmental benefits, as our emissions of the climate gas carbon dioxide will be much reduced.
Not all our heat and electricity will be supplied by the new CHP boiler, but this is certainly a step in the right direction and it will mean that the museum is now at the forefront of environmental and financial sustainability.