Energy and Water

Amgueddfa Cymru has worked closely with bodies such as the Carbon Trust and the Welsh Government to greatly improve our resource efficiency. You can see our examples of our energy and water use here.

Sustainable technologies

The museum already uses sustainable technologies in a number of areas. At St Fagans National History Museum, Big Pit and the National Collections Centre there are solar panel arrays providing renewable energy from sunlight. Tŷ Gwyrdd at St Fagans 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. A ground source heat pump is also being used in the new building, Llys Rhosyr.

National Waterfront Museum

5 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 and the rain is then used to flush the museum toilets.
  • There is an electric vehicle charging point installed to allow visitors to charge their car for a small fee. This helps reduce emissions in the city center.

The new developments at St Fagans were planned and built in line with BREEAM Certification which evaluates the procurement, design, construction and operation of the buildings with regard to sustainability. Aims of BREEAM include:

  • To reduce energy consumption by increasing building efficiency and through the use of sustainable energy sources.
  • To increase occupier comfort through improved environmental controls and management of the building operation.
  • To encourage sustainable land use, habitat protection and habitat creation.
  • To ensure building materials are sourced in a responsible way and that the long term impact is reduced over the life of the materials from procurement through to recycling at end of life.
  • To reduce waste during future maintenance and repairs encouraging diversion from landfill.
  • To identify ways in which potable water use can be reduced.

As such the new buildings at St Fagans incorporate many features in line with BREEAM certification such as:

  • Rain water harvesting - where rainwater is collected, stored and used for flushing WCs.
  • Temperature controlled opening windows – where the windows are opened by a computer based system to provide a comfortable environment reducing the use of air conditioning.
  • Heat exchange units – where the stale air leaving the building is used to heat the incoming air reducing the heating load.
  • Ambient controlled lighting – where the light levels in the occupied spaces increase or decrease automatically depending on the requirement.

Building Management Controls

The installation of building management controls has greatly improved energy use. These computer based controls run boilers and air conditioning systems and stop or start the equipment automatically when there is no requirement for heating or cooling. Incorporated within this system are inverter 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.

Energy Efficient Lighting

Gallery lighting at Cathays Park and Caerleon continues to be upgraded with new, smartLED light fittings. Although the new LED fittings are more expensive than the old incandescent type, lamp life-cycles are rated for 50 000 hours (around 14 years of usage), creating cost and energy savings across the whole-life of lamps. Recently refurbished exhibition galleries at National Museum Cardiff are also incorporating state of the art LED light installations to make savings on energy consumption and costs of maintaining these popular public spaces.

Combined Heat and Power

A heating boiler was installed at National Museum Cardiff, but this is no ordinary boiler – it generates electricity as well as hot water. This type of boiler is called combined heat-power (CHP).

This new technology, which is tried and tested, is much more efficient than a conventional boiler. There are also environmental benefits, as our emissions of the climate gas carbon dioxide will be much reduced.

Not all our heat and electricity is supplied by the new CHP boiler, but this is certainly a step in the right direction and it means that the museum is now at the forefront of environmental and financial sustainability.