California Academy of Sciences Part 4: Sustainable Design

In my earlier posts about the California Academy of Sciences, I introduced you to the Steinhart Aquarium, the Osher Rainforest and the Kimball Natural History Museum. Now it’s time to show a bit more of the technology that went into the building.

California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences was designed to be as energy efficient as possible, thus reducing their carbon footprint. In 2008, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the Academy with a platinum-level LEED certificate. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

According to the Academy:

Points for the coveted LEED certificate are awarded in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. The U.S. Green Building Council offers four levels of LEED certificates (Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum). They range from Certified, in which 50% of the points are achieved, to Platinum, in which 80% or more of the points are awarded.

The Academy is a wonder, inside and out. As per their sustainable design page:

  • 90% of all demolition materials were recycled
  • 32,000 tons of sand from foundation excavation applied to dune restoration projects in San Francisco
  • 95% of all steel from recycled sources
  • 15% fly ash (a recycled coal by-product), 35% slag in concrete
  • 50% of lumber harvested from sustainable-yield forests
  • 68% of insulation comes from recycled blue jeans
  • 90% of office space will have natural light and ventilation
  • 60,000 photovoltaic cells; 213,000 kilowatt-hours
  • 30% less energy consumption than federal code requirement

The floor to ceiling glass walls allow most of the offices to use natural lighting. The skylights are designed to open and close automatically. The building is warmed using radiant floor heating, thus reducing its energy needs. The insulation is a cotton batting made from recycled denim.

Visitors leaving the planetarium. I love the elegant lines of the ceiling.

Visitors leaving the planetarium. I love the elegant lines of the ceiling.

Looking down at the planetarium and the Steinhart Aquarium

Looking down at the planetarium and the Steinhart Aquarium

The light from the skylights are reflected on the dome of the rainforest

The light from the skylights are reflected on the dome of the rainforest

Looking down on the glass enclosed plaza

Looking down on the glass enclosed plaza

In addition to all of this is the living roof. The 197,000 sq. foot roof is home to more than a million plants. California native perennials were used along with a few annuals, like the California poppy. The living roof keeps the Academy about 10 degrees cooler than a standard asphalt roof would. There is an observation deck on the roof for visitors and it’s well worth checking out.

This is the dome over the rainforest.

This is the dome over the rainforest.

California Academy of Sciences

The living roof was full of wildflowers

California Academy of Sciences

From the roof, you have good view of the DeYoung Museum

Circling the roof is a canopy containing 60,000 photovoltaic cells that provide approximately 10% of the Academy's electrical needs

Circling the roof is a canopy containing 60,000 photovoltaic cells that provide approximately 10% of the Academy’s electrical needs

California Academy of Sciences

Circling the roof is a canopy containing 60,000 photovoltaic cells that provide approximately 10% of the Academy’s electrical needs

Here’s a cool video tour and explanation of some of the architectural details.


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Comments

California Academy of Sciences Part 4: Sustainable Design — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: 2012: JBoD's year in review | jellybeansofdoom.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>