AIC 2010 Notes: “The Evolution of Environmental Standards”

“Evolution of Environmental Standards:The Struggle to Quantify and Simplify Risk in a Complex World”

Steven Weintraub, Art Preservation Services

Wednesday, May 12, 201o, 10:40-11:00 a.m.

There is already a good synopsis of Steven Weintraub’s talk at the AIC News blog so I won’t go into too much depth here. Basically he urged us to move from a prescriptive specification model to a performance guidelines model for environmental set point recommendations. According to him this would permit more latitude for interpreting the guidelines and may make it easier for institutions of all sizes and types to meet them.

To be successful this shift requires an understanding of the purpose and the rationale for the guidelines. It also requires participation in all phases of the planning process, allowing us to have a continuing role in the planning and maintenance life cycle. If we keep to the current prescriptive model, the only role we play is to recite the 50%/70F/+-5 guideline and hope that our facilities department will meet them.

Managing risk is one half of the equation, the second half being the diminishing risk and costs involved. What is right for one institution will not be right for another. He urges a common sense-based paradigm and the use of tools such as inexpensive video cameras to track environmental conditions.

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