The John Wehle art gallery is one of the key pieces of the Genesee Country Village and Museum.
But now it's getting an overhaul, the building was originally put up 35 years ago and times have changed
"They did not have the understanding or appreciation for the environment. That was necessary to maintain a collection that Mr. Wehle put together," says Ed Coons, from the Genesee Country Village and Museum. The building used to use oil for heat and electricity for air conditioning. Soon, a geothermal system will take the place of both.
"In the winter heat is removed from the ground and is used to heat the air which ends up heating the building. In the summer time, the heat pump allows the process to reverse and we end up cooling the building," Coons says.
The system is made from a series of wells deep in the ground. There is a significant up front cost for the project. But a number of grants are helping to cover the costs. Over time it should be a money-saver. "What we are attempting to do here is provide a much stronger environment at a greatly reduced energy cost," says Coons.
The museum is making other energy upgrades too. In particular, the lighting. "We replaced all of the incandescent lighting which was considerable based on a light for every display replace 120 watt lighting with 7 watt led so energy savings in lighting alone is going to be tremendous." It's a look at the past, that will help preserve the environment in the future.
Currently the Wehle exhibit is closed while the construction continues. It is expected to be complete in June of 2012.