The Royal Academy of Arts is proud to be implementing a sustainability strategy. The RA aims to meet current and anticipated needs, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, by reducing environmental impact as far as is practically feasible for the operational needs of an organisation based in a Grade 2* listed building.
The RA embarked upon its sustainability journey fully in January 2010, with the creation of the cross-departmental Sustainable Action Group. Since then, good progress has been made in many areas.
“Due to recent developments within the sustainability field - including Mayor of London, Carbon Trust, CRC and Climate Change Act targets and regulations, it is now obligatory for the RA to make changes towards a more environmentally sustainable operation. To achieve a reduced Carbon Footprint is an incredibly important change for the RA. In the next year I would like to see a 10% reduction in electricity use in line with the 10:10 campaign. I give my full support to this initiative and its importance.” - Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive to the Royal Academy, May 2010
Since the start of January 2010, the Royal Academy has:
- Implemented Sustainability Policies for the first time (January 2011)
Download here (227 KB)
. These policies include encouraging debate of environmental sustainability in the context of visual arts and developing operating procedures to reduce energy consumption.
- Achieved carbon emission reductions of 5% during the 2010-11 financial year compared to 2009-10. This is a great improvement compared to the previous year when carbon emissions were still rising (up 2%)!
- Sought Display Energy Certificates (DEC) for each building which are now available to download:
Burlington House (1.2 MB)
Burlington Gardens (1.2 MB)
. We are constantly seeking to reduce our energy consumption. However, the DEC must be taken in context of the constraints of running an art gallery within a Grade 2 listed building. Work is currently underway to develop a more directly relevant benchmark system for art galleries within historic buildings.
- Contributed to changes in the museum sector, including playing an important role in the re-initiation of the national Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums Group (SEfM). The group was founded in 2008 and comprises museum and gallery professionals dedicated to working towards producing and staging exhibitions in the most sustainable way possible.
Into the future, the Royal Academy targets:
- Achievement of the Carbon Trust Standard by the end of 2013. This is a Government accreditation that shows reduced Carbon emissions, engagement with the Carbon reduction agenda and a commitment to continue to reduce Carbon emissions into the future – by at least 3% per year.
- Replacement and upgrade of all air conditioning plant and equipment for the exhibition galleries. This replacement of old, inefficient equipment will reduce the electricity consumption, and therefore carbon footprint, associated with the equipment by 50%. The plant is essential for the maintenance of optimal environmental conditions for all artworks within the Royal Academy’s Collections and Exhibition Programme. Air conditioning is such a key element for exhibitions that the RA is keen to attract financial support for this vital work – if you are able to support the organisation with this ambitious project, please contact Becca Jones, Sustainability Coordinator on 0207 300 5064 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Disclosure of more RA sustainability information into public areas of the organisation.