POCATELLO — When Don Aslett built his Museum of Clean, he wanted it that way inside and out. His efforts to make the massive building that houses the museum friendly to the environment has earned Aslett the Idaho Division of Environmental Quality or DEQ “2013 Pollution Prevention Champion Award.”
Aslett received the recognition from the DEQ Pollution Prevention Projects coordinator, Ben Jarvis, at a ceremony held Friday afternoon inside the museum’s library.
“We built green,” Aslett told the people gathered for the award ceremony. “Clean is a condition.”
Aslett walked through some of the environmentally friendly decisions that were made as the building constructed in 1915 morphed into the Museum of Clean. LED lighting that draws little power to provide outside lighting was chosen. Old “chicken wire” windows have been replaced with special non-reflective windows. In the future a garden will be planted on the rooftop and solar panels will installed on a wall of the museum.
“No big company can do what we can do in Pocatello,” Aslett said.
Because of the building’s efficient construction choices, Aslett said the electric power bill for the 75,000 square-foot complex is just $1,500 per month. This compares to about $6,000 per month for the smaller Omni Building in Pocatello.
Other ecologically friendly steps taken by the museum included capturing rainwater from the roof and storing it to use as irrigation and flushing water for toilets in the museum. Landscaping was designed to be water efficient and 80 percent of the materials recovered from the old State Hardware building were recycled.
“We spent the money and the time,” Aslett said. “We told everyone we wanted a green building.”
Aslett bought the museum building in 2006 and it opened for business in November of 2011.
The owner of Varsity Cleaners, who began “being a janitor” as a way to pay his way through Idaho State University, has nothing but enthusiasm for where the Museum of Clean is headed.
“We’re just in our infancy,” Aslett said.
After showing the awards crowd a short video on the museum broadcast by CBS, Aslett shared that last week he gave tours to visitors from Australia, Scotland, Germany and Israel. He also said the museum received a number one rating from the American Automobile Association.
Aslett also disclosed that he is closing a deal to bring the world’s largest collection of soap and advertising artwork created for the soap industry to the Museum of Clean.
“This building is going to pay dividends for a long, long time,” Aslett said.