How Energy Efficiency Can Help Preserve History

With the help of the DCSEU's Pay for Performance program, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens was able to conserve energy while preserving history.

Purchased by Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1955, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens has been focusing on becoming more energy efficient in the last few years. In 2018 they kicked off a sustainability project with Pritchett Controls to optimize their HVAC control systems. Pritchett was contracted to replace eight 3-way valves used to supply heating and chilled water to air handling units throughout the museum buildings with a more intelligent valve design. These models allow pumps equipped with variable frequency drives (VFDs) to ramp (slow) down, reducing the demand on the chillers and boilers that supply the system. Once they saw the immediate improvement in efficiency, the facilities team changed an additional 14 valves, replaced windows, optimized HVAC night set-backs and switched nearly 450 incandescent lights to LEDs campus-wide.

The goal is to make energy efficient upgrades while preserving the aesthetics of the museum and the integrity of the art objects. "Having newer, updated, and more efficient equipment, it's easier for us to maintain temperatures and humidity in collections spaces," says Brian Greenfield, Head of Maintenance and Facilities.

"It's very important that we maintain consistent space conditions, as objects expand and contract with temperature, and humidity has a huge effect on textiles and wood. So, the least amount of deviation we have, the better."

Through the DCSEU's new innovative Pay for Performance (P4P) program, Hillwood received incentives for their energy conservation based on pre- and post-project metered data that determines actual energy saved. Hillwood is one of the DCSEU’s first completed P4P projects.

“We are excited to partner with Hillwood as they take steps to reduce their energy use through operational and capital improvements to their HVAC system, which have simultaneously improved system operation and ambient conditions for their valuable art work," says Patti Boyd, DCSEU's Senior Technology Strategist. "We demonstrated these results mathematically through our P4P Method of Savings Analysis and provided them an incentive for their energy savings. We are looking forward to supporting their continued efforts in the future.”

According to Greenfield, some of the installs were completed as soon as "the Amazon box arrived," while others required a little more planning and a few more helping hands. Greenfield reported seeing savings in the range of 25%-45% less than the baseline utility bills. "That's thousands and thousands of dollars every month that we're not spending on utilities."

With those extra funds, Hillwood plans to put more money into educational purposes and maintenance of the site to better engage the public. For more information about the DCSEU's P4P program visit here or contact one of the DCSEU's Account Managers.

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