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Saturday, May 31 • 10:10am - 10:30am
(Collection Care + HVAC Session) A Sustainable Future at Tate

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NMDC and Bizot Guiding Principles

National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) agreed in 2009 a set of guiding principles for rethinking policy and practice with the aim of minimising energy use. The Bizot Group adopted the Guiding Principles and Interim Guidelines in 2010 and at subsequent meetings they have been further discussed and revised. The last revision was following a meeting in June 2012 when Tate met with conservation colleagues in New York.

The Guiding Principles is to review policy and practice, specifically regarding loan requirements, storage and display conditions, building design and air conditioning systems, with a view to reducing carbon footprints.

Current Approach at Tate

Tate recently endorsed the Guiding Principles and Interim Guidelines of the International Bizot Group in their galleries with Tate Collection. We are working to maintain a stable environment while being more pragmatic and widening the parameters for temperature and relative humidity. We are working to the following parameters in the galleries; temperature 18-24oC, 21oC+/-3 and relative humidity 40-60%, 50+/-10 with a maximum cumulative fluctuation of 10% in any 24 hours.

We are implementing an environmental strategy which is appropriate for both the individual buildings and for our collection. Our sites which are Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and two storage sites all present very different challenges and include a range of buildings. The Conservation and Building Estates Departments at Tate work closely to develop a bespoke control strategy for each building and to implement localised improvements at each site. Our current focus is on Tate Modern; during 2010-2011 we implemented a control strategy with incremental changes to the setpoints on a monthly basis linked to the external environment. We have revised this approach and during 2012 have implemented a control strategy which reviews the internal and external environmental conditions on an hourly basis during the day and in response the Building Management System makes adjustments on an hourly basis during the day and then holds the environment during the night. We are currently reviewing and revising this strategy and will present fully.

Energy Use and Carbon Reduction at Tate

Maintaining the traditional environmental standards of temperature and relative humidity within museums and galleries is energy intensive. We estimate that one third of our total electricity consumption is used to cool, humidify and circulate air in our gallery spaces. Reductions in energy use and carbon footprint at Tate have been achieved through using more efficient air-conditioning plant, upgrading controls and reviewing control strategies. In the future, the use of renewable and low carbon energy sources within for example the planned extension to Tate Modern, will reduce carbon emissions from gallery conditioning further. However, revising the approach to environmental control standards has the potential to bring the most significant carbon and cost savings both to the organisation and the environment, investigating ways to move forward with this.

Joint UK Estates & Conservation meetings

Very successful bi-annual meetings have been convened by Tate since April 2011, with the aim of enabling open dialogue on energy reduction between Conservation and Estates colleagues and to move forward on sustainability issues. This is a very useful forum and model to use. We are currently working on Bizot energy questionnaire to gather more energy and carbon data and would present on our findings.


Deborah Potter

Head of Conservation, Tate
Deborah Potter is the Head of Conservation at Tate, in post for over 6 years. Previous organisations have included; National Army Museum, Glasgow Museums, University of Leicester, Linen Hall Library, Royal Naval Museum. Qualifications include; AMA (Associate Membership of the Museums... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 10:10am - 10:30am PDT
Pacific Concourse D-E