Thursday, April 24 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:47:30 GMT
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solar panels installed at the Toledo Museum of Art are really starting to pay
years ago, the museum began work on making their main building more energy
efficient. Earlier this week, all of that work came to fruition as they were
able to completely off the energy grid.
first solar panels were installed on the roof in 2008. Now, almost every square
foot is covered, and more were installed in the parking lot last year.
panels were operational through the winter, but with summer around the corner,
the 4,000 solar panels are producing nearly half a megawatt of energy. On
Tuesday, that energy production was more than enough to fit the museum's needs.
went off the grid," said CEO Brian Kennedy. "We weren't paying any money for
energy. We were actually giving energy back."
the program began in 1993, the museum has lowered its energy costs by 80
percent. Besides heating and cooling, most of the museum's expense comes from
the lights shining on each individual piece of art.
have the lights on in the gallery all day, even when the sun is shining," said
Chief Operating Officer Carol Bintz.
2,200 traditional lights are changed out once every six months. The next phase
of the energy-efficient project is changing out those lights with new, longer
lasting and energy efficient LED lights.
museum will still have to rely on drawing power from the energy grid most of
the time, but being more self-sufficient and cost-effective will help them use
the money saved for more community programs.
able to mind our energy costs means we have money for lots of other things,"
Kennedy said. "So this is a great, great advantage."