We think that since we’re in the Sunshine State, we should harness the solar energy coming our way! We’ve been running a solar array on the roof of the Museum for many years now, as well as keeping up with many of our community and University sustainability practices.
Rooftop Solar Array
The roof of the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity was selected as a campus demonstration site for an innovative solar array developed by Solyndra.
Installation of the 75 kilowatt-hour system was completed in May 2010, and it now contributes power to the Museum’s electrical and cooling systems. A renewable energy companion exhibit called Our Energy Future includes real-time energy production data from the array.
Museum Green Initiatives
- Encourage staff use of alternative transportation to work
- Use “green” materials when developing new exhibits
- Design traveling exhibits that require as few trucks as possible
- Use more environmentally friendly paints with no volatile organic compounds
- Use recycled carpet for new and replacement installations
- Host Earth Day public programs to celebrate and highlight conservation
- Limit use of paper telephone directories
- Encourage recycling/reuse of packing materials
- Remind staff to turn off lights, monitors, printers and other equipment when not in use
- Add light switch decals to remind staff to reduce energy use
- Replace foam core signage with reusable signs
- Convert work orders from paper to electronic format
- Eliminate printed brochures when possible
- Print brochures with vegetable-based inks on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper
- Use compact fluorescent and other energy-saving lighting in office and work spaces
- Re-lamp the Florida Fossils exhibit with energy efficient metal halide fixture
- Participate in campuswide group orders for green tableware products to be used for various Museum functions
- Maintain communal bicycles for staff to use on campus
- Collaborative composting program with the UF Biology department green team
- Assist staff with getting removed from unwanted product catalog mailing lists
Repurposed Ethanol Barrels
The Museum buys bulk ethanol in 55 gallon drums for specimen preservation. The Fishes (Ichthyology), Marine Invertebrates (Invertebrate Zoology), and Herpetology Divisions (Reptiles and Amphibians) are the greatest users of this commodity, with approximately 10 million specimens in ethanol.
The Ichthyology division has been redirecting ethanol drums to sustainable uses for several years and has reached the 60-barrel giveaway mark in March 2014. Partners include Crone’s Cradle Reserve, Alachua County Public Works and Forage Farm, among others. The barrels have been used for drip irrigation systems, rain cisterns and composting tumblers.
From Crone’s Cradle: “The farm really appreciates the donation of the barrels. The projects have increased the efficiency of many daily processes on the farm and guests have enjoyed talking about how to incorporate re-purposed items into their own gardens and projects.”