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State of the Art Green Museum
Alex Steffen, 7 May 04

The California Academy of Sciences museum, damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, is being rebuilt as a state-of-the-art "green" museum:

"The new Academy will be a high-performance building that makes optimal use of resources, minimizes environmental impacts, and serves as an educational tool by demonstrating how humans can live and work in environmentally responsible ways. To help us achieve our ambitious goals, we have retained Rocky Mountain Institute, whose Green Development Services team has consulted on more than 300 projects worldwide, including the "greening" of the White House, Lucasfilm's Presidio studios, and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Village. While there are varying shades of green as measured by the U.S. Green Building Council through its LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, the Academy will strive to achieve the highest: LEED platinum. The sustainability features planned for the new Academy can easily be understood when compared to a standard building. For instance, whereas standard buildings do not capture or treat stormwater, the green roof of the Academy will reduce runoff by at least 50 percent (possibly as much as two million gallons of water per year)—water that would otherwise carry salt, sand, soil, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, litter, and other pollutants into nearby waterways. The green roof of native California plant species will provide excellent insulation and increase biodiversity by offering habitat for honeybees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

"Though cutting-edge technology will be apparent in the new Academy, we will also employ the age-old engineering techniques of daylight and natural ventilation. Large-but-controllable areas of glass in the façades and the roof will let daylight into offices, research, and exhibition areas, reducing energy use and heat gain from electric lighting. These areas will also have windows that can be opened—which is unusual today—decreasing the use of mechanical systems. The Academy will use approximately 50 percent less energy than California codes allow a standard building to consume. Some of this energy will come from clean, renewable sources, meaning a significant reduction in pollution. "

(their site's great, by the way, and even includes a pretty decent green building bibliography)

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Comments

Thank god!!!

Having taken several behind the scenes tours of the old Academy, and especially the aquarium, it was in desperate need of work, earthquake or not.

I'm happy that one of my biggest childhood influences will not only live on, but will impressively improve.


Posted by: CTP on 11 May 04



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