Tuesday, August 31, 2010
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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum goes green

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[August 31, 2010]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in downtown Springfield has always shed light on our 16th president's life and times, and now that light will be "green" as new technology will save energy, reduce replacement costs and prolong the life of the museum's murals.

The new lighting is made possible by a $25,676 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant through the Illinois Capital Development Board, with $25,676 in matching funds provided through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

"As the only U.S. president to hold a patent, Abraham Lincoln was always interested in the latest innovations of his time and personally tested some inventions developed during the Civil War. He would no doubt be delighted that the latest technology of the 21st century is being used to save energy and prolong the life of the museum built in his honor," said Illinois State Historian Dr. Thomas Schwartz.

The presidential museum has replaced high-energy-use incandescent lighting with more efficient light-emitting diode lighting in the waiting area for the "Ghosts of the Library" show and in the two exhibit journeys. The staff is also ready to replace similar high-energy-use light fixtures with LED lighting to illuminate the museum's gift shop, the waiting area outside the Union Theater, the Illinois Gallery and the central plaza mural.

LED lighting provides the same light levels for the visitor experience while using significantly less energy. In addition, LED lights need to be replaced less frequently, operate at a cooler temperature and do not produce mural-fading ultraviolet light.

Over the expected 10-year life of the LED lights, the museum expects to save more than $293,000 in energy costs, a reduction of approximately 272,500 kilowatt hours of energy usage per year. Because of this expected energy savings, the payback on the LED installation will be about 10 months, and since the LED lights produce no ultraviolet light, they will not cause fading on the original painted sky mural in the central plaza area.

According to the U.S. EPA Clean Energy Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, this energy savings is equivalent to eliminating the emissions from 34 passenger vehicles, or the carbon dioxide produced by burning 20,001 gallons of gasoline, or the greenhouse gases produced by heating 21.6 homes for one year.

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In addition, LED lights produce much less heat than incandescent bulbs, which will allow the museum's air-conditioning system to operate more efficiently. The reduced heat load on the air-conditioning system is the equivalent of removing 15 tons of cooling from the museum.

The presidential museum is examining other potential uses for the latest "green" technology in other areas of the building.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, which welcomes an average of 425,000 visitors per year and is the nation's most visited presidential library-museum complex, is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Its immersive exhibits and engaging theatrical productions provide visitors with an educational, emotional and enjoyable experience as they take part in a journey of discovery about Lincoln's life and legacy. Visit www.presidentlincoln.org for more information about the museum and the adjacent Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

[Text from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum]

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