Case studies

Great Big Green Week: How Art Fund is reducing its electricity use

Art Fund head office, Granary Square, King's Cross, London, 2014

As part of Great Big Green Week, we're sharing the ways we've changed what we do to become more environmentally friendly.

At Art Fund, we've been working on ways to be more environmentally friendly.

We have a Green Taskforce, which is an internal working group that looks at ways we can reduce our environmental impact. That group initially took on the challenge of setting some goals and sustainability principles as part of our strategy, which now form our new environmental sustainability statement. That's given us some long-term direction.

But in the short-term, we've looked at what changes we can start to make now. For our members, that's meant switching our carriers for Art Quarterly from plastic to recyclable paper, and printing National Art Passes on recyclable and compostable materials instead of plastic. The Taskforce is also looking at reducing the carbon impact of our website, and digitising our National Art Pass.

Meanwhile, for our programmes, we want to build on the legacy of The Wild Escape to support museums to become more sustainable. That means we'll signpost to more resources, and we've also created a new Green Travel policy to provide guidance for curators and organisations applying for funding. With events, we're looking at more sustainable promotional materials, and making sure our food menus are made up of 75% plant-based options, sourced seasonally and locally.

These are all projects that reach our members and wider audiences. But we’ve also made a number of swaps to create a more sustainable office environment too. And with a target to achieve a net zero carbon emission building by 2026, we're hard at work.

We upgraded our lighting systems to LED with movement sensors. While this gives people better light quality and the option to dim lighting, the bulbs are more energy efficient too. The motion sensors also mean parts of the building aren't lit if they don't have people in them.

When we switched to a hybrid working model, we brought in a desk booking system. With that, we can now monitor office attendance, which means we can adjust temperature schedules depending on how many people we know are in the office. And because the office is much quieter on Fridays, we’ve closed a part of the office to cut energy wastage – it makes little sense to heat and light a part of the building nobody's using.

We no longer heat stairwells and have reduced our AC usage, keeping windows open in warmer months. When it comes to keeping heat in, we've installed special seals on our windows and doors to retain heat, reduce drafts and cut heating costs.

Heating was, by far, the biggest chunk of our electricity usage. Since making these changes, we've seen our swaps have made a significant difference, reducing our electricity use by 57%.

We monitor our electricity usage with software called Pilio, and we'll continue to assess where savings can be made, and share updates as we learn more.

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