After almost two months since introducing the ArtsBuild Facilities Census to arts organizations across the province, we’ve begun to make some progress in achieving our Census goal. To remind you, that’s collecting information about all arts facilities in Ontario – yes, all of them. From Kenora to North Bay to Leamington to Stratford to Perth to literally everywhere in between! Why are we doing this? Because this information matters!
ArtsBuild Ontario exists to advocate for arts facilities – the bricks and mortar that gives your organization a home. But in order to do this effectively, we need to learn more about what makes your facilities what they are and what they can be.
As ArtsBuild has traveled to different parts of the province and has been engaged in more and more conversations about arts facilities and your needs, we have really begun to recognize how much support is needed to help our organizations manage their facilities.
We have been trying to understand who is responsible for maintaining arts facilities, who is responsible for capital improvements and who pays the bills! In most cases the answer isn’t cut and dry. There is more than one player and at the end of the day it is the organization that needs their facility alive and well for the art.
Most municipalities have a system that monitors the life of their infrastructure and if the municipality owns and takes care of your building then the life of your building is tracked through this type of system.
But what happens if you are responsible for your facility? How do you afford such a system and how do you begin to find one? And, is this the right tool for you? We took these questions and began talking to those in the field of Asset Management to find a system that:
1. Would be affordable to arts organizations and
2. Would provide organizations with training and expertise.
Ameresco, an environmental sustainability company, introduced us to their system and we knew immediately that this could be the solution for our sector. This program provides arts organizations with an affordable solution, that tracks all the components of your arts facility (yes – this includes your lighting grids and temperature control systems and other such unique components).
This asset management program will help you prioritize what needs to be done to your building, when and for how much. It will give you charts, reports and data without you having to click through numerous excel sheets (and it will house all those facility documents you have lying around too).
With support from other arts service organizations Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Ontario Association of Art Galleries and Ontario Museums Association, we are hosting two demonstrations of this system that we believe will take some of the burden off of our arts facilities managers (whether they be Executive Directors, Artistic Managers or Curators) and help with keeping our arts facilities in good repair. We have invited Ameresco’s VP of Asset Sustainability, to answer all of your questions and give you a walk-through of how you can use this system. These sessions are free and important for anyone that operates an arts facility. Graciously hosted by OMA, OAAG and TAPA – please let Lindsay MacDonald email@example.com know if you would like to attend.
OMA and OAAG
50 Baldwin ST – George Brown House
Suite 350 – 401 Richmond – TAPA Boardroom
More importantly, how can solving this #firstworldproblem help your arts organization embark on an energy conservation plan?
As you might have noticed in our communications over the last couple of weeks, ArtsBuild hosted an Energy Conservation Training session last Friday, in conjunction with our ArtsBuild Energy Conservation Program. The training was to provide information about how small (and large) changes can make a difference in your organization’s energy consumption.
As someone who doesn’t know very much about my own energy habits, it was informative and interesting to learn that there are more factors to energy conservation than just installing energy efficient systems, such as LED lighting.
Stephen Dixon and Garth White, Energy Coaches with Natural Resources Canada, lead the day-long session and took the training class of 22 arts organizations through practical applications of energy conservation. Before getting started, everyone was able to share what had brought them to the training that day. Naturally, it was an interest in learning more about energy incentives – provincial and local, different approaches to energy conservation and general information about diving into energy conservation.
In addition to the presentation they prepared, Stephen and Garth lead the class through three different demonstrations that brought the learning to a practical level – demonstrating the range of colour in light bulbs, how clean air filters improve the efficiency of fan systems and the right valves can help make your HVAC systems more efficient.
One example that stood out to me was their demonstration with the light bulbs. When considering a complete overhaul of your lighting systems, Stephen and Garth talked about what factors you should include when calculating how long it will take to see the savings. How long the lights are running, how much heat the bulbs are (or are not) giving off and the type of light you need for your space are all factors in your overall energy saving outcome. It was great to see light bulbs also going off in the participants’ heads on how they could bring this learning back to their organizations.
So where does ice cream fit in? In another example, Garth shared that he had noticed his ice cream wasn’t as hard as it should be. Upon further inspection, he discovered his dusty refrigerator coils were to blame. The unit was running longer and causing ice to build up in his freezer instead of transferring the cold to his ice cream. Garth used this example to demonstrate how keeping your systems clean is the easiest way to make sure you aren’t paying more than you should be on your energy bill – and ensuring your sweet treat is just how you expect it to be!
These examples, plus the knowledge of Stephen and Garth provided a very informative day for all. For many, this training was their first step to forming an energy conservation plan. Next step? Learn more about your facility with ArtsBuild’s Energy Conservation Program!
A special thanks goes out to all our participants, Stephen and Garth and our session sponsors Natural Resources Canada and Toronto Hydro.