Museum reduces its carbon footprint with solar panels

17:00, Jun 03 2014
Karl Satchell
GREEN FOCUS: Auckland Museum sustainability engineer Karl Satchell project-managed the installation of solar panels on the roof of Auckland Museum.

Auckland War Memorial Museum is now harnessing the power of the sun.

Sustainability engineer Karl Satchell is thrilled the solar panel installation, which has been two years in the planning, is finally complete.

It's part of the institution's sustainability drive, which has seen its carbon emissions drop by 50 per cent since it began monitoring its footprint three years ago.

The savings have been achieved through improvements in heating, ventilation and cooling systems in the building.

It will take about 10 years to see a return on the solar investment, Satchell says. After that time the panels are expected to generate at least $10,000 worth of electricity a year.

"The beauty of renewable energy systems is it isn't affected by the volatility of the market and we know it will keep generating electricity each year."


But because it's a heritage building there were challenges to meeting council requirements, the CBD resident says.

The panels couldn't be fixed in place because of the potential for leaks. Instead, the system is weighted down. It's been rated to 220 kilometres an hour, which is higher than the structural engineers advised so Satchell is confident they will stay in place.

Providing opportunities for people to learn about solar energy is an integral part of the project, he says.

"We stand as an educational facility. Our main role is to inform, educate and create discussion around the collections we have," he says. "That includes things like solar and other forms of renewable energy."

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