Timken Museum of Art Places First and Third in EPA National Building Competition

Timken Museum of Art Places First and Third in EPA National Building Competition
May, 2015 Client News

SAN DIEGO – May 19, 2015 – The Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park is proud to announce it has taken top honors in EPA’s Battle of the Buildings Team Challenge, a national building competition, in the categories of: #3 Overall Energy Saver (in the entire U.S.); #1 Entertainment / Public Assembly; and 20% or Better Energy Improvement. The results, which were announced this month, recognize the museum’s energy use reductions of 50.2% from 2013 to 2014. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy presented an award on Tuesday, May 19 to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Timken Board President Tim Zinn. The Timken is now the most technologically advanced cultural institution in the park when it comes to monitoring and verifying energy use.

“The Timken Museum of Art has been able to cut its energy use in half while maintaining a high standard for the conservation of its masterpieces,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Their innovative upgrades will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make economic sense by reducing their electricity bills.” Mayor Faulconer adds his congratulations to the Timken. “The leadership and staff at the Timken Museum of Art, who are heeding the call to be great stewards of San Diego and our environment,” said Mayor Faulconer. “Their efforts to reduce energy at the museum by more than 250,000 metric tons are a fantastic example of how San Diego is a world leader and global city of innovation and opportunity.”

In October 2012, the San Diego Green Building Council assessed 22 buildings in Balboa Park’s Central Mesa, including the Timken, with the support from Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The goal was to establish a baseline of environmental performance for buildings and evaluate sustainable building operations using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.

The report, issued in January 2013, made a number of recommendations to the Timken to increase overall energy efficiency in the building and raise the level of eligibility for LEED credits. The energy efficiency recommendations were to benefit the Timken, one of the great small museums in the world, in several ways, including contributing to the conservation and protection of world-class paintings that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy every year.

These paintings are sensitive to heat and humidity, requiring sophisticated HVAC equipment and control systems, which can require significant energy. Additionally, the building’s marble exterior provides added thermal mass and reflective surfaces, which can help conserve energy.

Under the leadership of Timken volunteer Randy Walsh, LEED AP at San Diego Energy Desk, the project team began meeting in spring of 2013 to devise an implementation plan.  Other team members included staff from the Timken, SDG&E, Jackson & Blanc, and Nixon and Christopher, who all helped bring the successful project to completion.

Work began in May 2013 by a team of experts and included upgrading the existing HVAC controls and a complete interior lighting retrofit – their first in 50 years – and installation of new lighting controls. Work was completed in November 2013, and the project team continues to adjust settings, review energy use, and look for additional ways to reduce energy use, without impacting the artwork or patron experience.

“Reducing our energy by 50 percent during our 50th anniversary year illustrates the Timken Museum’s strong commitment to the past and the future,” says Zinn. “We are grateful to our Jim Petersen, museum administrator, whose family has been involved with the Timken since its inception and who pioneered this important project. We are honored to receive this esteemed award from the EPA, and look forward to future enhancements at the Timken.” “The Timken Museum of Art is proud to be the technological leader in this progressive area,” says Megan Pogue, general manager, Timken Museum of Art. “We hope to set the example for other established San Diego institutions so that, together, we can make an even greater contribution of energy conservation to America’s Finest City.”

“The project was not without its challenges,” says Walsh. “The very specific design statements made by the original architect and the highly-technical lighting requirements to meet the original lighting designers vision. Both elements were critical as technologies were considered.” During the process the team met with a number of technical experts, including the Balboa Art Conservation Center and a few local architects to ensure the sophisticated environmental needs of the priceless works of art were being met while reducing overall energy use.

The total cost of the project was $105,779. The Museum was eligible for SDG&E Rebates and Incentives including the “0% On-Bill Financing Program,” which allowed the Timken to undertake these important projects without having to expend scarce internal financial resources. A project of this scope was only financially feasible through the SDG&E business incentive program. The project will yield $29,500 in savings annually. (Source)

“SDG&E is happy were able to help the Timken Museum achieve its energy efficiency and sustainability goals,” said Mitch Mitchell, vice president of state government affairs and external affairs. “We’re proud to be there for our customers by helping them to save on their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. As we strive to meet local and state goals, energy efficiency can play an important role in the climate action discussion.”

In addition to the energy use reductions made at the Timken, members of the project team have shared best practices with other institutions in and around the Western United States. The case studies they have brought back will help the Museum achieve even greater energy savings as the competition for the 2015 National Building Challenge begins.

About the Timken Museum of Art
Affectionately called San Diego’s “jewel box” of fine art, the Timken Museum of Art is located in San Diego’s historic Balboa Park on the Plaza de Panama. It is the permanent home of the Putnam Foundation’s significant collection of European old masters, 19th century American art and Russian icons. Notable works in the collection include Rembrandt’s “Saint Bartholomew” (the only painting by the Dutch artist on public display in San Diego; currently on loan returning late 2015); Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “Parable of the Sower;” John Singleton Copley’s “Portrait of Mrs. Thomas Gage;” Eastman Johnson’s classic “The Cranberry Harvest” and “Island of Nantucket;” and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s “View of Volterra.”

Known as one of the finest small museums in the world, the Timken Museum of Art celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015, and provides visitors with an accessible and enriching cultural experience featuring a beautiful collection, intimate surroundings, and free admission.