Seeing the Carnegie museums in a new light

Editor‘‍s note: This is part of a series looking at participants in Sustainable Pittsburgh’‍s Green Workplace Challenge. The second annual contest had a line up of more than 100 participants during the year ended May 31. Large and small firms, nonprofits, universities and government entities competed to see who could save the most energy, waste and water. 


A new light is being cast on the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Side. 

The museum converted light bulbs on the first floor to LED lights to save electricity and money, part of about $5,000 in renovations that also included the lobby, cafe and gift shop. 

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh — which also include the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History in Oakland and the Carnegie Science Center on the North Side — each saw LED conversions in the past year. That provided the museums’‍ biggest ”across-the-portfolio“ energy savings last year, according to Tony Young, vice president for utilities, planning and operations.

Participating in this year’‍s Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge  the museums finished second in the medium nonprofit category and saved more than $217,000.

Though this was their first year in the competition, the museums already had conservation programs in place. “It was just going through and making sure we had solid recycling programs, getting everyone on board and making sure we’re doing the right thing,” facilities manager Tom Flaherty said. 

To monitor monthly savings, the museums used a tracking program provided by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Switching from one-sided printing to two on the photo copy machine? That’‍s one point. “That was very low-hanging fruit there,“ Mr. Flaherty said.

Most of their savings came from electric, chilled water, and steam and hot water heating. Some came from small steps such as turning off the lights when not in use.

Others were more involved. At the Andy Warhol Museum, new equipment was installed to make the steam heating system more efficient.

Mr. Young said the museums will continue to monitor utilities, especially water. “It seems like a utility that isn‘‍t [being] monitored, specifically in the science center, he said. 

The science center tends to get a higher amount of visitors, thus more water is used.  

Kate Mishkin: or 412-263-1352

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