High-quality museum buildings, such as the Riverside Museum, are inherently energy efficient. The requirement to provide a stable environment to help conserve the Collections also reduces the power consumption to heat and light the building.
Riverside Museum has a deep wall and roof makeup and triple thickness glass that help to stabilise the environment within the building and conserve heat. The glazing is heavy filtered to contain solar-gain, particularly on the south-facing façade. This is to ensure the building’s heating and cooling systems do not have to work harder to maintain a stable environment. The filtering has been applied in such a way that the views to the outside are maintained. The building is over twice as air tight as the standard required for public buildings.
Similarly, high light levels damage some materials such as textiles, wood and paper. Light levels will be set low enough to reduce damage but high enough to make it easy for visitors to get around. The cold cathode lighting chosen as the main lighting for the building is energy efficient and very long life.
Much of the display lighting uses innovative low-power LED technology to reduce power consumption and further stabilise the environment inside the building. The structures and cases that make up the 150 separate displays in the museum are of a modular design so that they can be reused for new displays. Overall, the displays are around 70% reusable.
The architects, engineers, display designers and contractors had to provide an environmental policy or statement as part of their selection process. During the construction of the museum our contractors have sought to make the site environmentally friendly.
In January 2010, the project was given a 5 out of 5 inspection by the independent Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS). The CCS’s report highlighted Riverside Museum’s considerate use of building materials. This included recycling wood rather than sending it to landfill. The CCS grading, which also looked at cleanliness and safety, means that Riverside Museum was one of the most responsible construction sites in Britain.