Full Transcript for the March 2023 Conservation with Rob Pearce.

From MediaWiki

Conversations with Change Makers, March 2023

Robert Pearce, Principal Preventive Conservator at Amgueddfa Cymru (Museum Wales)


On Tuesday March 28, 2023 Kate Fugett spoke with Robert Pearce, Principal Preventive Conservator at Amgueddfa Cymru (Museum Wales) about the energy-savings strategies implemented at his institutions. Amgueddfa Cymru includes seven major museums and one collection center in Wales with collections encompassing art, archaeology, social history, botany and zoology, industry, and library and archives.  Amgueddfa Cymru uses multiple energy saving strategies to address the needs of its myriad collections and sites. The conversation ended with an audience Q&A.

Robert Pearce began working at Museums Wales in September, 2003 as the Agricultural and Crafts Conservator. In this role, he was responsible for the interventive and preventive conservation of the agriculture and craft collections at St Fagans National History Museum. He later became the Senior Preventive Conservator in August, 2010. In this position, one of his duties was to increase the sustainability of collections care.

0:00 Introduction

02:40: Q & A: Energy saving strategies at Museum Wales

06:55: Q & A: Testing strategies

10:57: Q & A: Helpful relationships

14:58: Q & A: Recommendations to get started

17:42: Q & A: Temperature and RH ranges and techniques to achieve

20:28: Q & A: Damages seen caused by ranges

24:06: Q & A: Use of display cases

31:22: Q & A: References

33:56: Q & A: Communication techniques

35:16: Introducing ultrasonic dehumidifiers

37:09: Q & A: Any pushback?

38:36: Q & A: Limiting fluctuations in 24hr period

40:25: Q & A: Ultrasonic dehumidification/humidification

42:49: Q & A: Energy saving strategies impacting historic buildings

44:38: Conservation heating

46:36: Closing remarks

*Please note that transcript has been edited for legibility *

(00:00 Introduction)

Kate Fugett (KF): This event is part of an ongoing series in which we're speaking with institutions who are already implementing energy saving strategies, and we have two future events that I hope you'll keep an eye out for. On April 26th, we will be speaking with Karen Zukor of Zukor Art Conservation and this is a private practice conservation studio specializing in paper, in Oakland, California. And then ICON will be hosting an event in June in which Lorraine Finch, who I know is attending today, hi Lorraine, will be speaking with small museums in the UK. And if you missed our February event, that was the inaugural event of this series. We spoke with Colonial Williamsburg and the Shelburne Museum and that event we did record and we will make sure that that's posted on AIC forums, and we can also share the link to the recording for ICON to share. And Amy has just posted the registration link for the April event in the chat, so please feel free to register for that now.

So today we are joined by Rob Pierce, who is the Senior Preventive Conservator at the Museum Wales. Museum Wales operates eight sites: seven national museums and a collection center. The sites range from a large open air museum to a more traditional art and natural history museum in Cardiff. The collections contain over 5.3 million objects and specimens from fields of archeology, natural history, social history, and art. Rob started work at Museum Wales in September, 2003 as the Agricultural and Crafts Conservator and then became the Senior Preventive Conservator in August, 2010. The job description for that role included two lines specifically aimed at increasing the sustainability of collections care, which I really applaud and am incredibly in awe of. I wish more institutions had it. And those lines are to participate on behalf of the museum in sector-wide initiative, to develop more sustainable approaches to environmental control, and to work with buildings and Estates to develop more sustainable approaches to environmental control in line with sector-wide initiatives. So when he joined as Senior Preventive Conservator he started working almost immediately towards introducing seasonal set points and those were introduced at the National Museum Cardiff in September, 2011. The first overnight shutdown took place in November, 2013 also at the National Museums of Cardiff.

(02:40 Q & A: Kate and Robert discuss strategies, helpful relationships, recommendations to get started)

So Rob, thank you so much for joining us today. We're going to start off with a few questions and then, as I said, we'll have about 15 minutes or so for audience questions. So I mentioned a few strategies that you're already using at Museum Wales, are there any other strategies that you are implementing, or what specific strategies are you using? And why did those particular strategies make sense for your institutions?

Robert Pearce (RP): Hi Kate. Hi everyone. Yeah, we got a few others that we've tried. We’ve used conservation heating control. We turn stuff off. I've turned a lot of stuff off actually over the years, and we've introduced new technology, and new low energy technology in the form of LED lighting and ultrasonic humidification humidifiers, and mix and match with all that. Nothing's applied across the board. So as you just said, yeah it's always been a part of my brief here, is to reduce the energy we spend on maintaining the collections and so we started off, I got straight on to that. I mean, it was one of the things that drew me to the job anyway. So one of the first things I did was start working on seasonal variables temperature set points and that was …  I read a paper and all of these sort of techniques have been written up, well, at least once, probably multiple times in the conservation journals and the like. And at the time, maybe there still is, I don't go to conferences quite so often now, but there was a lot of conferences on how you can reduce your energy in maintaining collections environments and I went to quite a few over a shortened period of time. So all of these ideas came from attending conferences, reading journals, and that sort of thing, and they all showed that you could do these things whilst maintaining a 40 to 60% humidity range and a temperature range from 18 to 24 degrees (Celsius) something like that. Generally we've applied these things when the opportunity arises.

So, I might say a little bit more about some of these strategies. The set points, that started with a paper on my desk on my first day at work with a Post-It note highlighting an article written by someone in the National Maritime Museum, I think, and that showed good savings and it seemed a pretty low risk place to start. You're not changing the overall temperature range that you're going to see in your gallery. Well we weren't anyway and it seemed like good energy savings could be made for very little input. I underestimated the input, I must admit on that particular one. I have a sort of naive approach towards IT and computing and things like that and I just assumed that you would program in this information once and that's it that's set for years ahead. It never really worked like that. My initial strategy was to change them little by little, month by month, but no one told me that this had to be all put in manually every month until a good few months in. So, it's like, oh okay yeah, I can see this is a lot more work than I thought, sorry about that. So that strategy has changed on and off over the years, but I think we are now finally getting to the point where that can actually be automated. I don't know how many years later, but quite a few years later we are automating that in the relatively near future.

KF: So that brings me a little bit to our next question which is, what did you do to test the strategies that you were implementing and what collections or spaces were they tested on first?

RP: The idea was to test the seasonally variable set points, but we never did in the end. It was seen as such a low risk and the testing period would have to cover at least six months to cover winter and summer and really the mood was to just get on and start saving energy, and certainly no regrets there. The overnight shutdowns, which can really save a lot of energy because everything's off potentially 12 hours a day, we just started those on just one air handling unit at a time and we just turned them off for a few hours over a night and monitor the impact on the environment. Actually this brings us to the first slide actually because these overnight shutdowns sound very simple, but there are a few pitfalls with them, really.

Amy, can we see the first slide? There we go, so that's really what you want to see with an overnight shutdown.  Really, no evidence of it in your environmental data at all, or very little. You can see where it happens, but it's compared to the variation within the data in general, that you would never see that in a million years. But if you go to the next slide then you'll see a slightly different story anyway. So this one is a different space and it's a very different reaction. Obviously the environment in this gallery is a lot more variable but you can clearly see the overnight shutdown, where it happened, and you can see where it started up again, and you can see an overshoot as well. Which is one of the things that you can discover when you turn things on and off, is that when it turns on again it overshoots temperature and/or humidity might overshoot. Not really looking for that. And if we go to the next slide you can see, this is the ceiling of the gallery for the graph that we've just seen. So it looks all complete and intact and everything, but if we go to the next slide, it's not so easy to see but somewhere near the middle towards the bottom, you can see a bright white area and that's the light from the gallery shining through the hole in the ceiling. So the gallery ceiling was not a seal against the space above and of course all the air from the gallery that you're hoping is going to stay in there and keep conditions stable throughout the night just wafted up into the plant room above. So you can learn a lot from overnight shutdowns about stuck fresh air dampers and the construction of the building, and things like that, which you weren't necessarily gonna find out otherwise. And once you've done one, you don't have to do it again. That's the thing about overnight shutdowns. You are not going to turn that one off again, until we resolve those problems. So it's not turning everything off at once and there we go, that's it. You have to approach these things cautiously. Be prepared to take a step back every now and then.

KF: I would imagine that, you know, as you are doing the shutdowns and discovering things about your collection spaces, such as you've mentioned here, there are a lot of colleagues that you are working with. Can you talk a little bit about which relationships or which colleagues, both within your own institution and then outside, were most helpful for you in getting these changes started?

RP: Yes, absolutely. The one thing that I couldn't do any of this without is a very good working relationship with our Facilities manager/Building Services Manager, they have lots of names but the person, the teams that are looking after the equipment that controls these environments. You absolutely have to have a good working relationship with them. Communication needs to be clear, but that can be tricky some times because they approach these things from a different angle and the idea of actually turning something off is almost an anathema to them. These things have been designed to go on and on and on, and some units are just designed to work 24/7 and without alteration will not turn on and off according to the room conditions. But you can get around those sort of things but absolutely, you need to have regular meetings with these colleagues in these departments and you do these things. So you arrange for the overnight shutdown for instance, I'm going to use this as an example, and then you need to look at the results with your colleagues in the Facilities Management department and actually look at what's gone right what can we continue here, which ones we're gonna have to look again at, why is it done this, and it's a two-way thing because they find out quite a lot about what's not working and what is working well. So that's absolutely essential, but I mean there's quite a lot of other relationships that are also very key to this whole thing. Visitor Services Managers: people in charge of the people working in spaces. If you're reducing temperatures in the winter and things like that, they need to know because there’s staff working in these spaces. If the gallery temperatures gone down in Winter and it's 17, 18 degrees in there; we have galleries that are 16 degrees in winter, another layer or two compared to what they were used to when it was maintained at 20° C all year round. Fellow conservators, because I'm a preventive conservator, I don't know everything there is to know about the materials in the stores, the collections, and things like that. I need to know from conservators and collections managers what's in stores, what (are) the vulnerabilities, what those stores have been like in the past, and if they're noticing damage and things like that. That's all you need to have, all those sort of things,  and senior management of course. If you are working to reduce energy, it needs to be a good buy-in from senior management well it certainly helps a lot if senior management are on board with all this. Generally people are, because you know it saves energy and saves saves money and of course energy isn't getting any cheaper, so yeah those are the those are the key relationships I think.

KF: That's really wonderful. I feel like that's a really great answer to our next question, but I'm curious what else you would say, you know many in the audience today are likely hoping to implement changes at their own institutions. So aside from developing these really wonderful relationships with colleagues, what's something else that you would recommend to them to help get them started.

RP: Well, start simple really. Turn one air handling unit off for a couple of hours and overnight. See what happens. You have to start simple, but you'll have to do a a fair amount of research before even getting to that point. So you need to know basically … with overnight shutdowns the more isolated from the external environment your space is, then the more chance that you're going to not notice it. If there are fresh air dampers stuck open, and fans still running … so we thought we've shut down, but actually fans have been running when they shouldn't have been, and things like that. Fresh air dampers are stuck ope, and you can end up with unexpected results that way. So keep it simple, be cautious. You know, it's being too cautious with overnight shutdowns, you won't learn much. Because if the conditions outside are very similar to what they are inside, you're not going to learn if the fresh air dampers are open or not. Because (what) it will be doing is exchanging air with the same conditions, so nothing's going to change. But yeah, you need to be cautious. You need to think about it. Do the research and make sure to get the permissions that you need, get everyone on board.  But it's not difficult at all, the actual mechanics of doing it is actually quite simple. I mean, what is difficult is when you come to replace all your LED lighting or all your humidifiers, that's a different ball game entirely. So was there anything else … ?

KF: That's really good advice.

RP: I think once you start, it'll become clear.

KF: Yeah, I think starting is sometimes the hardest part.

RP: It is. I think so. Because it wasn't that hard for me, because it was part of my job description. But if it's not part of your job description and you have to do this on top of something else, then not quite so easy.

KF: Yes I love that that was written in there. Yes, absolutely. Can you tell us a little bit about the temperature in RH ranges that you aim for at Museums Wales in your controlled environments and any tips or techniques that you use for achieving these ranges?

RP: Yeah, we generally, as I sort of might have indicated before, we generally aim for a 40 to 60 percent humidity range and 16 to 24 degrees C temperature range. But it's not a blanket thing. The conditions we set for each space, they are set according to what's in there so we have a gallery containing panel paintings. We keep the humidity in there higher than we would do in general, so that's 45 to 65 (percent) humidity and we might be less in say, archives, or something like that where we might go 35 to 55 (percent). Sometimes, you know, if it's ceramics or something, I think it's just not responsive to humidity and temperature, we might turn it off or they'll be stored somewhere where there is no control. So there's a very wide range and we generally achieve our aims. But not always. I mean we have problems when, I don't know whether you've been to Wales, but we don't get 30 degrees C in Wales that often. Increasingly we do. Last year it was hot, very hot, for a week. It's not extended periods of time, but if we do have 30 degrees C plus for a week, we do struggle to maintain that 24 degree C top mark, especially where we have windows in the galleries and solar gains. We go for things are in spec 95 percent of the time, I'm pretty happy with that. Things break and mistakes are made and things go out of spec, so best you just have to react quickly to those and get them back in spec as soon as possible.

KF: Yeah, I don't know many institutions that, you know, don't have problems that arise with their HVAC systems.

RP: You can generally, you're gonna expect that.

KF: I was just wondering, you know, since you've described a range that I think is wider than often us in the U.S. aim for, although I think achieving it is one thing … but can you talk about if you've seen any change or damage to collections that are stored in these controlled environments that you would attribute to any environmental changes?

RP: Not for things that are maintained. Not when we do actually manage to achieve 40 to 60 percent. That is, we used to strive for the 55 plus or minus 5 percent and we used to keep temperatures at 20 (Celsius) plus or minus two (degrees) throughout the year. I mean maintaining that sort of temperature range in the Welsh climate and then still expecting to maintain 10 (percent) RH range, well that's beyond what the equipment we had … we never achieved it. But I think there's a fair amount of evidence out there, something that a lot of papers show, that most objects will be fine between 40 and 60 (percent RH). Since we've been striving for 40 to 60 (percent) and we do achieve that, whereas before we never achieved the 55 (percent) plus or minus five. The 50 to 60 percent, it would just be out the spec 50 percent of the time rather than 95 percent of the time or something like that. Environmental control has got better for various reasons at the National Museum Wales, but we haven't seen any damage. Damage does occur because of, that was your question wasn't it, about damage and when things go out the side of those parameters then damage can occur, especially at very low humidities. We have found wooden items (with) cracks open in them, they shrink and things like that and it is usually the low humidities that are the problem. So winter time, too high a temperature and no humidification can lead to humidity around 20 (percent) so that can cause problems for more delicate wooden items that are on open display, but that's way outside what we would be aiming for and way outside of what any sort of energy saving strategies they're aiming for as well. I mean it's not part of the strategy to allow temperature (and) humidity fall that low. Basically before, even when we were striving for 55 plus or minus 5  (percent), damage was just as regular. Since we've stopped driving for that and have adopted this 40 to 60 (percent) range as a standard, so not an increase then, since we are going for more sustainable ways of controlling environments, and it's very rare.

KF: That's really wonderful to hear and I hope that will be the one thing that everyone attending this will take away. So I'm really happy that you mentioned it. I'm going to ask one more question and then we will go to audience Q & A because I can see that we have a number of questions. So my last question for you is you know, in our conversations you mentioned that you have new galleries and you have a very unique climate control setup there. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how you use display cases and vitrines to help preserve the collections there?

RP: You're talking about our newest galleries I think, St. Fagans. It's an open air museum but  recently there was a big development on the Galleries and that whole project had sustainability in mind. We were aiming for a high sustainable standard which was achieved, I believe. So as part of that, we went from no humidification in the Galleries and limited dehumidification. It was just temperature and cooling. So there's no set point, as such. Well, in my mind there's no set point, the control engineer probably does have a set point in his mind. The way the strategy works is that if the temperature falls below 16 (Celsius) and a half degrees during opening hours, the heating valves will come on and it will work to bring the temperature up to 16 and a half again and then they'll go off and the converse happens in the summer when temperature goes over 23 and a half, cooling valves open and work to bring the temperature just back down to 23 and a half. At which point they turn off. So we don't aim to get towards a middle point or anything, when the temperature outside is high. We aim to just cap that internal temperature and when it's low, we just aim to minimize. Just keep it at a minimum level. See, that isn't actually enough to avoid very low humidities, we also manage the fresh air intake using carbon dioxide sensors. So they only open during the hours of opening and they only open when necessary, to when the carbon dioxide concentration reaches a certain level. I think it was 900 PPM, but it was lowered significantly for COVID. I'm not sure where we are now, but it used to be 900, they would start to bring in fresh air and (at a) thousand the fresh air dampers will be fully open and the fans will be working maximum. But as it turned out, the only time you really need this strategy is in the winter, when you're trying to keep the humidity up. It's an open air museum, people tend not to visit open air museums in the winter and you know, Gallery occupation is quite low in the winter. The carbon dioxide concentration in the area when I looked at it for a few months never went over 600, so we've had a fair amount of success. We can see that on the next slide now I think, Amy. Because I think this is where that one shows the environment in that. Ah no, it's not that one, but that is actually an uncontrolled store over two years and the lines show 40 to 60 percent (RH), so you can achieve this with no control whatsoever. If you look at the next slide, that's the gallery environment in one of the St. Fagans galleries a lot more spiky, but you can see the low humidities are avoided for the most part. In November, where it just goes down and down, and down, eventually gets to about just under 35 (percent). (There) was a long a three-week period of low five degrees (Celsius) or less outside, and yeah, you can't deal with that very easily, but that's pretty rare. We haven't seen that that's this year. We haven't seen that in the last two years before that. The high humidities, we're not too worried about because that sort of just boosts. The galleries are fitted out with hygroscopic materials; so wooden floors, wooden beams in the ceilings, hygroscopic wall cover. And if we look at the next slide we will see, this is from inside a case in the same gallery for the same period of time. Cases are absolutely amazing at buffering less than favorable gallery environments, shall we say, and we do use them quite a lot in spaces that we know we're not going to be able to maintain a good environment. But we want to display something more sensitive than we would normally bow (?) to. Yep, put it in a case, Prosorb silica gel, and that's (it). The target environment there is 50 to 60 (percent) and we've pretty much achieved that over that year, and they are uniform. That's actually a refurbished case, so that was also another aspect of the sustainability of that project is that we refurbished, (I don’t) remember the exact number, 20, 30 cases and mixed them in with some of the new cases as well. So that's an air exchange of 0.5, but the new cases were air exchange of 0.1, and you can see that sort of result with no silica gel at all in a case that’s sealed that well.

KF: That's really wonderful.

RP: That worked out very well. Took a while to get the conditions right there, because people aren't used to setting that sort of thing up, you have in your mind how it's going to work, but the people getting that to the people that are setting up the controls … can take a while.

KF: Just being aware of time, let's take some questions from the audience. Thank you so much this has really just been incredible. I really love that you reused cases, I feel like I don't hear enough institutions talking about that, so I'm really happy that that's being done.

There are a few questions, just asking for more information about some of the references that you mentioned earlier. Do you happen to know any of the titles or authors off the top of your head or can you point those in the audience in the direction of where they could find some of that information?

RP: I'm very poor remembering names and titles and things. I would need a list in front of me. I do vaguely remember the reference cause I referred to it on a number of occasions for the seasonal variable set points, but it was a long time ago, but I think it's Amy O'Dwyer.  It was at the National Maritime Museum. I think it was one of the ICON magazines. I'm not sure. I would have thought searching, you would find something on overnight shutdowns. I know I've read several things and and heard people talk about them, but no, unfortunately I'm very very poor at that kind of thing, sorry.

KF: That's okay, and AIC, I'm just gonna shout out our Zotero which my colleague Amy has been so wonderful about updating and there might be references that we have there. And that is readily available to everyone, you don't have to be an AIC member to access that So hopefully we can put that in the chat. We also did just get a mention in the chat of the IIC Turin Conference, that's another great place to start and then I am just scrolling through the chat.

RP: I think there's been several conferences that have been devoted to sort of sustainability, energy conservation techniques, and there's a lot of really good papers in those if you can pick out what they are and I can't remember. The stuff they publish after the events, the pre-prints, or whatever, they are really useful, those sort of single focus conferences and things. Great to attend as well, but I don't know whether they happened quite so often these days, but yeah they really are very good.

KF: There is a question about any specific communication techniques that you found most effective in reporting your progress.

RP: No, not very specific. Meetings, I generally find are what I use to report progress, discuss what needs to be done next, and that sort of thing, face to face. Well … used to be face to face, but not always these days. But I think you have to find the communication method that works for you, anyway. Because you know, everyone's different in their approach to communication and their strengths and weaknesses in various types of communication. So what I would find useful wouldn't necessarily be what anyone else would find useful. I like face-to-face meetings and also writing up emails with the necessary information in them, but not everyone does, and a lot of people don't read emails. So yeah, you need to work out what's going to work for you and who you're communicating with and things like that.

As far as progress with regards to energy savings, we don't really know how much energy we've saved in any one of these sorts of things. It was only when we introduced the ultrasonic humidifiers (was there) any real attempt at actually finding out how much energy that we actually saved there, but we don't have enough sub-metering to know where the energy is going. All we know is that energy consumption on a site went down or up … this is something else we’re starting to address recently but up until very recently, we just have an electricity bill and you have to guess what's actually made it go down or up based on what you know is going on. Obviously in conservation, we're not the only ones trying to save energy. So everyone is trying to save energy across these sites because it's so expensive, really.

KF: Yeah, yeah, it is so expensive.

RP: And that's a good driver for getting people to do these things. We don't really know but it was decided in 2010 that we weren't going to let that stop us. That's great implementing these things is, because you know if we decided to wait till we knew what was doing what, we would still be waiting and we've still not done nothing. But what we can say is our energy usage has gone down significantly. I mean, it's just the ultrasonic humidifiers. They use something like 93 percent less energy than a standard (??) dehumidifier which is a huge, huge saving.

KF: Wow, yeah. I mean, it's really incredible.

RP: It's a huge saving as well, but both of those are quite expensive to fit, but they can be huge.

KF: Did you get any resistance specifically to the overnight shutdowns or any of the techniques that you tried to implement?

RP: No, not really, no. There's a strong sustainability agenda in Wales through the Welsh government. It's one of their targets and it's strongly supported by Senior Management and pretty much everyone here understands the need to do this, and so it's generally 100 percent supported. There were some worries, I suppose, from principally, the conservators. But generally, after a talk and some hard real facts, I suppose about “well this is actually what we do. I know in your mind we've been achieving 55 plus minus 5 (percent) for the last 50 years, but actually if you look at this data you can clearly see we haven't”. So once they see that things weren't quite what they thought, it is no resistance.

KF: That's wonderful.

RP: It's been very good, yeah.

KF: we have a few questions, just asking about the range that you allow for fluctuations within a 24 hour period of time. So can you elaborate a bit about if you try to limit the fluctuation between 40 and 60 (percent) within 24 hours?

RP: Oh yeah. Generally we wouldn't go from 40 to 60 percent in 24 hours. We try to limit the change to 10 percent in 24 hours and about 4 degrees C.  Things happen and things do change quicker than you want them to. I mean there's some Finance Galleries I spent a lot of time just slowing the reaction times down of the plant. I mean, that was key to actually achieving what we got there because generally things over at the plant overreact. It's sort of, it's designed that way, but it's not designed with objects and gallery conditions in mind. So if it's taking you from 40 to 60 in 24 hours, it needs to be addressed and it can be addressed. There are things you can do with the settings on the handling units to address that. Nature tends not to send it (temperature and humidity) that way, especially when it's sort of buffered by the walls, and ceilings, and things like that, but machinery does. So it's quite often, you can adjust those settings which (has) been a big focus.

KF: That's great. You mentioned ultrasonic humidification or dehumidification. Can you expand on that for the audience?

RP: Yes. I think it's a relatively new technology. It's been around for a while, but I don't know what the uptake has been. But as I said, the headline figure is that there's a huge energy saving to be made. And the way they work is they use a high frequency electrical signal to cause a plate to vibrate within the water (which something happens in there anyway), it throws out tiny one-micron droplets from the water surface which then evaporate into the airstream really quickly to produce this water vapor. Because you're not heating anything, there's no heating elements. So you're not using that huge amount of energy to get the water to evaporate, to boil off. It is so much more energy efficient and because they don't have elements that burn out, they don't get lime scale, or anything like that, they are a fraction of the maintenance costs. I think the maintenance costs were estimated to go from £11,000 a year to £2,000 a year and we replace 53 steam humidifiers, I think, with about 61 ultrasonic humidifiers.The energy saving was huge on top of that. I can't remember the exact figures now, I got them here, but I'm completely lost in my notes. It's worth investigating. It's not the kind of thing you're going to do just for the sake of it, but the steam humidifiers we were replacing were 40 years old, so they were a little bit past their best, shall we say, and something had to be done, and replacing like from like would have been crazy when you got that option.

KF: That's a really excellent point. It is 11:45 right now, do you have time for one more question?

RP: I do, yes.

KF: Okay, so this will be our last question, and I think it's a good one because many of us do work in institutions that are historic buildings. So if any of your institutions are in historic buildings, did you study how the building would be impacted by any of the energy saving strategies? So by overnight shutdown, seasonal set points? And have you had to prioritize the wellness of the collection over the historic building?

RP: A lot of our buildings are historic buildings and there are: the open air museum, there's a castle there which wasn't really moved, but there are many historic buildings that were moved from around Wales to there. We use HVAC in the art gallery museum, but they've been in store many years ago and I didn't really widen the parameters. I mean we never achieved 55 plus or minus 5, so nothing changed that much other than we became more successful with our aims. Because our aim was just made more realistic. It is certainly something I know, so we do have stores in attics in the castle and there is a need to stop condensation occurring in the building and things like that, but that can still be done without full HVAC.

I mean if you use conservation heating as a method of humidity control in an historic building which is what National Trust do and what we do in a lot of the re-erected historic buildings and in the castle is to use conservation heating. Which is less energy. The only alternative there and what we're used to is just heat all winter, but you end up heating when you don't need to. Whereas conservation heating is basically a humidistat attached to a heater and the heating only comes on when the humidity reaches a certain point, and then that drives the humidity down again. So it can be done, short answer. It can be done but you do have to be mindful in historic buildings of the building fabric itself, as well. But if you're working with Facilities Managers and others where that sort of thing is their expertise, then hopefully they would flag things up if you were trying to do something that was going to damage the fabric of the building. Certainly I have that sort of expertise to flag things up. You have to apply these principles where you can, it's not something you can apply across the board, any of it. You have to apply it where you can and in some instances, it's just not going to work. But in many instances you can, like for instance you can turn everything off in some places and you still maintain your environment, but until you try it you don't really know. So yeah, I would say just try it.

(46:36: Closing remarks)

KF: I love that. I love that as a place to end. So Rob, thank you so, so very much for joining us today and for sharing all of your experience about the strategies that you have been using at Museums Wales and I really want to thank you all for coming. I apologize that we didn't get to all of the questions in the chat, and there are some really good ones. I do want to quickly highlight Simon’s (??), the last part of his question, which is just in the energy and climate crisis, aren’t we facing a clear call to respond with a more responsible and sustainable and a more honest approach to environmental control in memory institutions and I'm so happy that we're having this conversation. I do really hope that everyone is asking themselves that. So I just want to thank you all so much for coming and Rob again thank you very much. This is just one of a series that I hope that AIC and ICON can continue, because I think these are really important conversations to be having, and I think it's really important for us to share all of the knowledge that we have so that everyone can be making these changes at their own institutions. So thank you all so much and everyone have a good day. Bye bye.