National Portrait Gallery – Sustainability Statement
The National Portrait Gallery is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations and promoting sustainable working practices. We have an in-house team of volunteer members of staff who drive the effort to identify, investigate and implement measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the Gallery. The Gallery adopts the best environmental practices where possible in purchasing of supplies and services and has already implemented many changes to the day to day running of the Gallery to increase sustainability. Our team of engineers constantly monitor the energy performance of the Gallery building to ensure that it performs at its most efficient and in the past year alone has reduced its electricity consumption by 5%.
We were the first public Gallery in the United Kingdom to light historic works of art with Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology which saves approximately 85% of electrical energy compared to conventional methods of lighting. The LED project was initially set up as a trial, but this new lighting method met our conservation criteria and was deemed to be of a sufficient quality to light our works whilst greatly reducing our energy usage. To date we have replaced over 100 halogen lamps lighting corridors, stairwells and toilets with LED’s which has not only reduced energy consumption but the amount of maintenance required.
Other steps to increase our sustainability include the recycling of temporary exhibition sets which has reduced waste materials and transport costs. We have a strict recycling policy, and plastic, paper, metal and cardboard are all recycled with the result that only 15% of the Gallery’s waste by volume goes to landfill. We encourage our visitors to recycle by providing recycling points in public spaces to re-use maps and literature. In 2011 we installed four colonies of bees on the roof of our office building in response to the declining honeybee population in the UK, and from 2013 we hope to be able to sell honey in the Gallery shop.
We are always searching for new ways to continue to reduce energy use and welcome further suggestions from our staff and from the public.