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.
- N20/1 The CCI Channel Crate: Making a Lightweight, Reusable Crating System (2020)
- TB 33 Silica Gel: Passive Control of Relative Humidity (2018)
- TB 34 Features of Effective Packaging and Transport for Artwork (2020)
- TB 36 LED Lighting in Museums and Art Galleries (2020)
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
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
CCI site assessments focus on effective preservation strategies that consider the responsible use of resources, based on collection vulnerabilities.
Framework for Preserving Heritage Collections
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
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.
- Acoustic emission damage analysis: wood structures and the museum environment (ongoing)
- A geographic information system (GIS) of hazards and risks to Canadian cultural institutions (ongoing)
- Dynamic and static environment mould initiation and growth – review (2012–2019)
Related CCI workshops
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.
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.
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 training and learning calendar to see which activities are being held this year. Please consult our training and learning page if you are interested in hosting one or more of the training and learning activities.
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
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
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
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
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)
A campaign that encourages museum staff to think about economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Energy management software developed by Natural Resources Canada for facility benchmarking, performance analysis and project feasibility studies.
A YouTube educational page with videos describing the use of RETScreen for different applications.
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
An Image Permanence Institute site containing information on workshops, webinars and resources related to the sustainable preservation of collections.
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