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News Release: Eiteljorg achieves energy savings, receives large incentive from AES Indiana

Participating in RCx efficiency study, museum reduced electricity consumption by 18 percent

At the Eiteljorg Museum on Tuesday, AES Indiana presented a financial incentive check for the Eiteljorg’s energy efficiency savings achieved through participating in a retro-commissioning study with HEAPY Engineering. From left, Sumeta Medicherla and Amanda Alvarado of HEAPY; Chrissie Thompson, Jennifer Szawaluk and Katie Heard of AES Indiana; Julia Noschang of HEAPY; Eiteljorg President and CEO Kathryn Haigh, and Fred Green, vice chair of the Eiteljorg Board of Directors and member of the museum’s Facilities Council.

Image by Brooke Sullivan

Wednesday Feb. 28, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS – As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art has pursued steps to reduce its overall energy use. In recognition of the Eiteljorg’s overall 18 percent reduction in its electricity consumption, AES Indiana presented a financial incentive to the museum. The Eiteljorg received $22,810 to support all implementation costs and $49,400 to cover the full cost of the energy efficiency study, totaling $72,210 in incentives from the utility.

AES Indiana offers a retro-commissioning (RCx) program that assists participating businesses, nonprofits and other commercial utility ratepayers in identifying improvements to make their buildings more energy efficient and reduce their overall electricity usage. Those who agree to a study conducted by one of AES Indiana’s qualified providers and make the improvements it recommends can have 75 percent of the study costs absorbed by AES Indiana.

The Eiteljorg Museum opened in 1989, and an expansion in 2005 doubled the size of the building. Further renovations took place in 2021-2022. Unlike office buildings and other types of structures, the museum must operate at a consistent, regulated indoor temperature and humidity round the clock – even at night when visitors are not present – in order to properly preserve and maintain thousands of artworks and cultural objects. Through its participation in the RCx program and study performed by HEAPY Engineering of its heating and cooling systems, the Eiteljorg has implemented improvements that will help the museum operate more efficiently.

“Sustainability through energy efficiency is one way the Eiteljorg is working to reduce its carbon footprint, and is consistent with the museum’s larger efforts to present the stories of Native peoples who have cared for the land, water, air and environment from the beginning. Throughout the museum we look at ways we can positively impact the environment, so we are very pleased to partner with AES as participants of the RCx program,” Eiteljorg President and CEO Kathryn Haigh said.

By participating in the program, AES customers can receive an incentive of $0.04 per kilowatt hour reduced for implementing the recommended efficiency measures. Through implementing the findings of the study HEAPY conducted, the Eiteljorg was able to save 594,250 kWh, equating to about 18 percent of its annual electricity consumption. According to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, that many kilowatt hours saved is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions that would have been produced by consuming 46,713 gallons of gasoline.

The efficiencies the study identified that the museum has acted upon were significant enough that AES Indiana covered 100 percent the $49,400 costs of the study.

“Eiteljorg Museum has demonstrated truly inspiring environmental stewardship through their participation in the AES Indiana Retro-Commissioning program. Their investment will have a positive long-term impact on the facility’s operations, building a more sustainable future for the museum, their patrons, and the surrounding community. HEAPY is honored to be part of this initiative, which creates opportunities for more organizations like Eiteljorg to conserve energy and our natural resources,” said Sumeta Medicherla, HEAPY project manager and associate principal.

“AES Indiana partners with business customers to support their energy savings goals, helping to keep energy costs lower for everyone, so it is a win-win. Reaching as many customers as possible to help identify and improve energy efficiency supports AES Indiana’s goal of accelerating the future of energy together,” said Christina Thompson, program manager, AES Indiana. “Creating a more comfortable environment for the Eiteljorg Museum is critical to the facility. The upgrades completed not only achieve this, but the energy savings they will achieve each year because of the upgrade will allow them to reinvest directly in other opportunities they might not otherwise have been able to without the retro-commissioning program.”

AES Indiana officials presented a large check to the museum Tuesday during a meeting of the Eiteljorg’s Facilities Council, which discusses issues related to the museum building. To learn more about supporting the Eiteljorg and its efforts, visit

Rear exterior view of the Eiteljorg Museum, showing The Sails, a shade structure under which summer events are held. Image by Zach Malmgren

About the Eiteljorg
A cultural pillar for 35 years in downtown Indianapolis’ scenic White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the arts, histories and cultures of the Native peoples of North America and the diverse peoples of the American West by telling amazing stories. Located on the Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., the Eiteljorg is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.


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