Sustainable practice for heritage institutions

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) has produced a number of resources, including guidelines, technical documents, design solutions and software tools that can help heritage institutions address issues related to sustainability. Further information is also under development through active research projects. This page provides a brief outline of relevant CCI work with further links to external resources.

CCI Notes and Technical Bulletins

Several CCI publications relate to energy and resource management in the operation of heritage facilities. Topics include passive control of relative humidity (RH) in enclosures, energy reduction with LED lighting and effective packaging of objects for transportation.

CCI tools, resources and services

CCI Relative Humidity Module

Please contact CCI for more information regarding a machine designed to supply humidity-conditioned air to a network of display cases while reducing the energy demand on the HVAC system in the facility.

Environmental guidelines for museums

Environmental guidelines for museums (2017)

This page is currently under revision due to updates made to the 2019 edition of the ASHRAE Handbook (consult Chapter A24 – Museums, Galleries, Archives, and Libraries).

Environmental monitoring equipment loans program

Environmental monitoring equipment loans program

Facilities assessments

Facilities assessments

CCI site assessments focus on effective preservation strategies that consider the responsible use of resources, based on collection vulnerabilities.

Framework for Preserving Heritage Collections

Framework for Preserving Heritage Collections (2015)

This redesigned poster connects sustainability and climate change issues to the management of the risks that are posed by different agents of deterioration.

RE-ORG – collection storage reorganization

RE-ORG – collection storage reorganization

A step-by-step approach that encourages museum staff to reuse and repurpose materials and equipment during the optimization of storage space.

Related CCI research

Several areas of CCI research seek to advance our knowledge of the relative risks to heritage collections and reduce the ecological footprint of facility operation. Topics range from broad geographic information system (GIS) analyses of many risk factors to the testing of specific material sensitivities in laboratory experiments.

Related CCI workshops

Display Cases

Display Cases

This workshop brings together content related to collection preservation and sustainability through a discussion of design issues and functional requirements of display cases. Topics include the selection of appropriate construction materials, ensuring airtightness, the passive control of humidity and modern lighting solutions.

Environmental Guidelines

Environmental Guidelines

This workshop provides an overview of environmental factors related to object preservation: light and ultraviolet, temperature, RH and pollutants. Approaches for assessing the sensitivities of collection materials are highlighted in order to facilitate the strategic use of resources for risk mitigation.

Exhibition Lighting

Exhibition Lighting

This workshop offers an in-depth review of exhibition lighting practices for object preservation, with a focus given to the selection of appropriate LED lamps and their energy savings potential.

View the CCI workshop calendar to see which workshops are being held this year. Please consult our Host a CCI workshop page if you are interested in hosting one or more of the CCI regional workshops.

External links

Chapter A24 – Museums, Galleries, Archives, and Libraries

Chapter A24 – Museums, Galleries, Archives, and Libraries

This revised chapter of the ASHRAE Handbook – HVAC Applications (2019) includes input from CCI scientists on topics related to sustainability, local climates, building capabilities and collection needs.

Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice

Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice

A blog with case studies, resources and events for museums.

Energy Guideline for Historic Buildings

Energy Guideline for Historic Buildings (ASHRAE Guideline 34-2019)

A document outlining actions to consider when performing energy efficiency and energy conservation projects involving historic buildings.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

An online energy tracking and benchmarking tool for commercial buildings developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This resource is operated in Canada by Natural Resources Canada.

Managing Collection Environments Initiative

Managing Collection Environments Initiative

A Getty Conservation Institute project that addresses issues related to the control and management of collection environments in museums. The initiative combines scientific research, fieldwork and knowledge dissemination through several educational resources.

Museums and Cultural Institutions Facility Benchmarking Program

Museums and Cultural Institutions Facility Benchmarking Program

A program for museums and other cultural institutions, endorsed by the International Association of Museum Facility Administrators. The annual survey contributes to a benchmarking dataset for assessing energy consumption and related costs, as well as many other operational factors.

Museums Association's sustainability campaign (UK)

Museums Association's sustainability campaign (UK)

A campaign that encourages museum staff to think about economic, social and environmental sustainability.

RETScreen

RETScreen

Energy management software developed by Natural Resources Canada for facility benchmarking, performance analysis and project feasibility studies.

RETScreen eLearning

RETScreen eLearning

A YouTube educational page with videos describing the use of RETScreen for different applications.

Sustainable Practices Wiki

Sustainable Practices Wiki

A wiki page maintained by the Sustainability Committee of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), offering environmentally sustainable approaches to preventive care of collections and other aspects of conservation practice.

Sustainable preservation practices for managing storage environments

Sustainable preservation practices for managing storage environments

An Image Permanence Institute site containing information on workshops, webinars and resources related to the sustainable preservation of collections.

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