Wednesday, June 24, 2020

A bright idea

A museum volunteer prepares to change out a ceiling-mounted light bulb.
There are many elements required to create a successful exhibit space, but few are more impactful than lighting.  When the Museum's Train Shed exhibit and collection storage building was built, it was illuminated with High Intensity Discharge ("HID") lamps.  They represented the best compromise for cost versus light quality.  Yet just nine years later, there are many other options, and most use substantially less electricity.

With the Covid 19 crisis closure coupled with damage to the Train Shed roof mentioned in the last post, June seemed like the perfect time to retrofit electrical lighting fixtures to Light Emitting Diodes ("LED") lamps.  

Changing out lamps is very impactful because the boom lift needed to perform the work requires exhibits to be dismantled, and cars or locomotives to be moved.  This process normally generates weeks of disruptions - except right now the Museum remains closed because of the Covid 19 crisis.  

Thanks to volunteer Arnie L. and the local Platt Electric in Preston, a conservation rebate reduced the price of the new lighting elements to roughly the cost of new HID bulbs.  Also helpful was some assistance with equipment from CHG, the company who is performing the storm damage repairs.  And especially to Arnie L. who rode the lift to the ceiling and changed most of the 38+ ceiling fixtures.  Brent assisted with the conversion as well, and more than a dozen others helped with dismantling exhibits, removing the old ballasts, and helping provide supplies for the retrofit wiring.

With thanks to everyone for working together, all the Trains Shed HID high bay ceiling fixtures were successfully converted to LED lamps.  This cut the power consumption by approximately 25% and "warmed" the lighting color temperature to 3,000 K, which is also known as warm white.  This will generate annual power savings of approximately $2,000, and improve the visitor experience immensely.  

Monday, June 1, 2020

Thar she blows!

Western Washington has weather patterns seldom understood outside of the region.  Summers are dominated by beautiful weather, are usually drier than New York city, and have low humidity.  However, winter occasionally brings unpredictable storms that may release torrents of rain or wet snow, and hurricane-force wind gusts.  

Storm damage occurs most years, but it is usually minor and has consisted of railroad crossing gates that were broken in half by wind gusts, gutters torn from the Education Center by heavy snow, and a crossing gate mechanism shattered when a truck skidded in the snow and sideswiped a crossing signal mast.  

The large western hemlock dropped
diagonally across the roof.
Now the Museum can add another roof to the list.  Just as the Covid 19 crisis was expanding, a sudden wind storm brought destruction to the Museum when it brought a massive tree down onto the Train Shed.  The evergreen was more than 100 feet tall and appeared to be very healthy, but a gust snapped the trunk off approximately 20 feet above the ground.  The tree landed diagonally across the north dormer damaging the eave truss, gutter system, and roof panels.  Inside, wall paneling buckled and window casing popped off the wall. And soon water was leaking into the wall structure.

A standing -seam roof is now water
tight when the seams are no longer intact.
The Museum responded quickly to the crisis by hiring Imhoff Crane to remove the tree right away.  Due to its length and weight, Scott Imhoff cut the tree into sections to make it easier and safer to handle.  Then steps were taken to make the building water tight again until proper repairs could be undertaken.

A few needles and seed pods disguise
the extent of the damage,
With the warmer, drier weather now blanketing the Northwest, CHG Building Systems is beginning the repairs.  More than 1,000 square feet of roof is being replaced, along with several structural members, some interior cladding, and dormer cladding.  The work is expected to take two weeks and is valued at more than $140,000.