Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We've Gone Green

When The Mark Twain House & Museum Visitor's Center opened in November of 2003, it became the first museum in the nation with a LEED Certification. The LEED system looks at a building in terms of it's sustainability, it's performance standards, the materials used and the energy efficiency. What went into the Mark Twain House's Museum Center to make it LEED Certification ready? Well, the building was physically built into the side of a hill; which means the first floor of the building is actually underground. The contributes to a smaller heat loss and gain throughout the day. The lighting fixtures outside the building were created to have less glare and less night-sky impact. Geothermal wells are the primary source of heating and cooling, rather than using fossil fuels. A high percentage of materials used to build the facility came from local sources, less than 500 miles away. The building also was created to allow for future energy savings, space for solar panels and fuel cells.

A recent article in NBC Connecticut talks about how the museum is currently looking into getting solar panels installed. This came after CL&P approached The Mark Twain House about our energy costs. After doing some research it was determined that the museum center was in need of a lightbulb overhaul. The 50 watt bulbs that had been used throughout most of the galleries were able to be changed; now the lighting is the same but with a 3 watt bulb instead. CL&P ended up changing 457 lightbulbs throughout the museum center, which has resulted in HUGE savings for the museum. The electric bill alone has been cut in half! Thank you to CL&P for all of the amazing work they did for us!


"I spent a night at General Singleton's--one of the farmer princes of Illinois--he lives two miles from Quincy, in a very large and elegantly furnished house, and does an immense farming business and is very wealthy. He lights his house with gas made on the premises--made from the refuse of petroleum, by pressure. The apparatus could be stowed in a bath-room very conveniently. All you have to do is to pour a gallon or two of the petroleum into a brass cylinder and give a crank a couple of turns and the business is done for the next two days. He uses seventy burners in his house, and his gas bills are only a dollar and a quarter a week. I don't take any interest in prize bulls, astonishing jackasses and prodigious crops, but I took a strong fancy to that gas apparatus." - Mark Twain

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