Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center Furthers Preservation Mission Through Sustainability Measures

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Hot water tubing in the concrete floors radiates and maintains heat, making the floors more comfortable and providing highly efficient heating, said Tony Scheurich, the Museum’s building operations manager.

Scheurich has worked for the Museum since six months before the public opening of the new location at 9603 Woods Drive. He’s worked in facility engineering for 40 years.

Add 95 percent efficient hot water boilers, variable frequency drives that enable fans to only run at 75 percent speed, and LED lighting and “you get exactly what you need,” Scheurich said. “Money is energy.”

One current project for the Museum facilities team is enhancing the cooling system to better control humidity levels, which need to remain constant at 50 percent humidity to maintain the Museum’s vast archives, Scheurich said.

Museums and libraries are among the few types of buildings that need to maintain such consistent humidity. According to its website, the Illinois Holocaust Museum collection consists of more than 20,000 items from victims and survivors of the Holocaust, which the building environment needs to carefully and effectively preserve. Collections Manager Emily Mohney said the Museum’s roughly 50 paintings are the most sensitive artifacts, since their canvases could expand or contract with changing humidity, while the thousands of documents and photographs may also be impacted in varying humidity.