Posted by: COSI | February 13, 2009

Turning Green Platinum

There is a once a year meeting of science museum directors sponsored by the Association of Science Museum Directors (ASMD) from which I always derive great benefit—not only through the conversations but the special places we visit.

This year, as expected, there was much discussion at the ASMD meeting of how everyone is faring in the current economic climate. But there was even more looking to the future and seeing the power of what science museums/centers can do to support the public’s understanding of important issues. Our surveys at COSI, matched with national and international surveys, put at the top of the public’s interest the topics of energy and environment and how people can respond.

In responding to this at COSI, “Energy & Environment” are now growing areas of focus for experiences and programming. We are planning not only new areas like our watershed lab, but also making facility improvements as we can, and backing them by changes already underway in our own institutional behaviors.

So it was with some real interest and high expectations that I joined my ASMD colleagues as we made our trip to the new home for the California Academy of Sciences. The new Executive Director, Dr. Greg Farrington, was generous with his time and his staff’s to introduce fellow museum heads to their facility and the experiences it supports.

The Academy, as they call it locally, is now the largest public Platinum-rated building in the world, and they claim to be also the world’s greenest museum. The Academy earned the platinum rating (highest rating possible) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). There are many criteria that can be met to help achieve this extraordinary rating, but certainly their roof is the most distinctive.

The following video catch some glimpses of their living roof for climate control and water management, their solar photovoltaics integrated into their overhangs, and their large atrium space to provide copious amounts of natural lighting.

There is much more to their platinum LEED design than just these features, so if you are interested in examining this more closely, just follow this link to their special section about their remarkable facility:

I’m looking forward to the continued improvements we can make in the COSI facility to help make it more efficient, as well as our upcoming expanded experiences and programs.

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