Christchurch Art Gallery proving to be energy-efficient

Published: Thu 9 Dec 2010 01:49 PM
Christchurch Art Gallery proving to be energy-efficient
Christchurch Art Gallery have been reducing their energy costs and becoming more energy efficient, following the introduction of a new steam humidifier and new landfill gas, electricity and
Christchurch Art Gallery has been reducing their energy costs and becoming more energy efficient, following the introduction of a new steam humidifier and new landfill gas, electricity and chilled water pipelines from the Civic Offices
From early 2011, chilled water and electrical power will be transported from the tri-generator on the roof of the new Civic building on Hereford Street, directly to the Art Gallery.
Tri-generation is the simultaneous production of electricity, heat and cooling from one primary energy source. The adoption of this highly efficient system at the new Civic Offices contributed to the building receiving a 6 Green Star Office Design rating, the highest score ever achieved by a New Zealand building.
Gallery director Jenny Harper says landfill gas supplied to the tri-generator at the Civic offices will be used to create cooling for the Gallery building, and excess power will be sent to the Gallery for use to power the air conditioning system.
“The air conditioning in our Gallery is critical, because we have a huge number of high profile works of art that require set temperatures and humidity,” Ms Harper says.
“This new system will enable more renewable energy to be provided to the Gallery and will ensure we continue to provide a well-controlled environment for our valuable art collection and for exhibitions.”
Previously, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) boilers provided the heating and electric chillers provided cooling in the Art Gallery.
Utilising biogas from the Burwood landfill and wastewater treatment plant reduces costs, reduces methane greenhouse gas emissions from waste streams and substantially reduces the reliance on fossil fuel sources with their incumbent greenhouse gas implications.
Last year, the Art Gallery’s heating boiler burner was also converted from a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and diesel firing unit, to a landfill gas (LFG) and diesel firing unit. This allows the burner to switch to diesel fuel if for any reason, the LFG supply becomes interrupted. This boiler has been running without problem, and a low cost, ever since.
“The new burner has been running very successfully. In fact last month, we didn’t produce any liquefied petroleum gas at all,” says Energy Manager Leonid Itskovich.
“The Art Gallery used to be totally reliant on liquefied petroleum gas for fuelling heating appliance when it opened in 2003. Today it relies solely on landfill gas – which means saving on energy costs and improvements for the environment.”
In order to maintain international museum environmental conditions, the Art Gallery also runs a steam humidifier. Steam is produced in a giant kettle and then injected into the air conditioning system to maintain around fifty percent relative humidity in the many Gallery and storage spaces.
When the Gallery first opened in 2003, it maintained these conditions using LPG only. However, this September the old unit was removed and replaced with a more powerful system, complete with duel fuel burner.
“In the past the Art Gallery was using approximately 200 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas per year,” says Dr Itskovich. “This has now dropped to zero, with major savings forecast due to the use of new technology and landfill gas from Burwood.”

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