In light of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Sustainability Initiative, the staff at Villa Finale met recently to talk about how we can be more green, in our preservation and museum functions, as well as in our office work. Here’s a list of what we came up with:
1. Turn off lights. It seems so simple that it’s easy to forget! But now we’re going to make a concerted effort to turn off outdoor lights during the day, turn out lights when we leave the room, and turn off our power strips at night. Even equipment that’s off draws power, so this should save some energy.
2. Recycle office paper. We were doing this already, but it’s good to restate it so we remember. Since I do so much paperwork (sigh) I tend to generate the most waste paper, so I’m going to put a recycling bin in my office, to remind me. We already recycle glass, plastic, newspaper, etc. And the staff members that don’t have recycling programs where they live have been bringing their recyclables to the office for disposal.
3. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs. We’ve been phasing these in for some time, but now we plan to do an inventory of every shape and size bulb we have in the house so we can replace all existing bulbs with CFLs when they burn out. I was amazed to see that now they even have flame-shaped CFLs for chandeliers! We’ve got lamps and fixtures of every size and vintage, and with so many lamps in the house, burnouts are a regular occurrence. And since the burn-outs will only increase when we’re open to the public and the lights are on all day, a bulb that lasts seven years sounds gooood!
4. Green cleaning products. We will be using environmentally-friendly cleaning products wherever possible, including collections care and building maintenance.
5. Long-term solutions. To protect the collections, we plan to install UV window film, which will also reduce interior heating due to sunlight. Our upcoming window and door restoration project will make the house much more energy efficient, as will the two new HVAC units we installed. As part of our landscape restoration, we’ll be installing an irrigation system, which will allow us to be more efficient at watering the grounds. We’re also investigating a compost system to fertilize the beds. All of Meg’s banana peels will be put to good use!
We’ve even discussed more flexible work hours so that the staff will not have to sit in traffic at rush hour, wasting gas. And in what’s probably the biggest sacrifice on staff, Sylvia promises to work hard to lose her “LA Driver” mentality while commuting to increase her MPGs!
Stay tuned to see how we all do…