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Keepin' it Green: Balboa Park's Sustainability Program

The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership is the collaborative body and collective voice for 26 diverse arts, culture, and science institutions. Since 2008, the Partnership’s Sustainability Program has worked closely with institutions, saving to-date 5.4 million kilowatts hours and $800,000 annually. To date, the Sustainability Program retrofit projects have: contracted over $330,000 in stimulus funding, secured over $66,400 in utility incentives, and led to an impressive estimated energy savings of over $32,000. This equates to 215,000 kilowatts of energy saved in Balboa Park.

The Partnership is responsible for the successful administration of the Department of Energy (DOE)’s grants to elicit energy efficiency and conservation through retrofits of the existing museums and institutions.  It is anticipated that the DOE funded retrofit energy measures will reduce energy consumption by 1.9 million kilowatts and provide energy saving of approximately $228,000. Cumulatively the Park Institutions’ savings will be over $1 million annually in 2012. The Partnership is on its way to reaching the goal of saving $1.5 million annually by the 2015 Centennial Celebration.

The following projects represent a current snapshot of the exciting progress that is occurring on the ground in Balboa Park.

The historic Old Globe has replaced a 30 year old air conditioning compressor chiller, machinery room refrigerant alarm and exhaust fan, reducing energy cost for this equipment by 30%. In addition, The Old Globe is part of a comprehensive server consolidation effort. The existing computer servers require a significant amount of energy to power and keep cool. Through DOE funding, the Old Globe is reducing the number of servers it uses from fourteen to two. In addition to saving energy, virtualization reduces hardware and maintenance costs. The projected savings for this project is more than $500 per server, per year.

Museums require substantial energy to provide adequate climate control for collection care and comfort for their visitors. The Mingei International Museum’s DOE-funded air handler retrofit has addressed these issues while saving approximately 30% percent in utility costs a year in combination with the installation of state-of-the-art variable frequency drives to create an “All Variable Speed Central Plant.” In addition, the Mingei will soon install a building control system to monitor energy use, saving more energy and increasing visitor comfort. These savings allow more resources to be devoted to mission-related activities.

Thank you to Rory Ruppert (pictured at left) for providing these updates to the Balboa Park Beat.