City museum adopts rainwater harvesting and solar energy production

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The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) in Colaba — Formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India — is home to over 60,000 art objects. Having said that, the museum is not only the largest in the city but also the most eco-friendly in the country.

Elaborating on the museum’s decision to go green, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director general of the museum, said: “According to experts, the present situation can only be prevented or improved, if as a nation we put up a united front in ensuring preservation of our surroundings and natural heritage by enacting effective laws in Parliament. It is also true that only legislation will not be effective, unless we, that is, the authorities and citizens jointly involve ourselves in the cause and demonstrate our sincerity and commitment towards bringing in change.”

As of 2008, the museum has undertaken rainwater harvesting which has helped it to save 24 lakh litres of water till date. “For gardening, we use only the harvested water and not the water from the BMC. We had to look for alternatives due to the sheer scarcity of water in the city,” said Manoj Chaudhary, assistant curator in the Natural History Section of the museum. Designed by NS & Associates, installation of the plant was funded by the museum Trust itself.

CSMVS has also successfully managed to reduce its carbon footprint by installing 140 solar panels, 60 in the east wing and 80 in the west wing. These panels produce 35 kilowatt of electricity every month and has enabled the museum to save nearly 6 lakh rupees in electricity bills. This project was executed in two phases, one last year and the second one in March this year, by Belifal Innovations with the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Bombay.

To further address environmental issues and promote sustainable methods, the museum carries out educational programs and workshops on environmental conservation besides maintaining extensive lawns and gardens.

Installation of another rainwater harvesting plant by the end of the year is also on the its mind.

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