The San Diego Natural History Museum has been awarded certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council. Cool-roof coatings and the use of zero- or low-VOC coatings figure in the museum’s green operations and maintenance program.
The certification is the result of the museum’s adoption of a comprehensive green-building program that includes the use of zero- and low-VOC paints and coatings and a range of other measures and policies. The certification has been verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.
In announcing the certification, the museum said it is believed to be the oldest museum in the nation to earn LEED-EB: O&M certification (among reporting projects) and first in California to be certified under LEED EB: O&M. The museum was built in 1933 and expanded in 2001.
The Natural History Museum achieved LEED certification for efficiency in energy use, lighting, and water and material use, and by incorporating a variety of sustainable strategies. The project was led by Shawn Whisman and Rusty Gehm of the museum’s Building Operations team, with direction from George Brooks-Gonyer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
Said Brooks-Gonyer: “The Museum got a kick start to pursue LEED certification when we committed to creating the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition to be held at the Museum in 2007. To qualify for having the scrolls on exhibition, the building needed upgrades to meet the requirements of the Israel Antiquities Authority. These included upgrading the air quality, controlling air moisture, air temperature, and air volume.”
The Museum’s LEED certification project was a team effort managed by Christina Sarkees, LEED AP of Zagrodnik + Thomas Architects. The team also included Tom Reichert, Heather Shopplein, and Jay Bradley of E&A Engineering/Engineered Mechanical Services Inc. (EMSI), who directed mechanical and energy performance; Keith Schneringer of WAXIE Sanitary Supply, who provided green-cleaning consultation; and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E),which assisted with data compilation and research.
Sarkees said the museum earned LEED points for heat-island reduction as a result of the use of a white, reflective coating on a major portion of the roof. Policies adopted by the museum also call for the use of zero- to low-VOC paints and coatings, as part of a program of indoor air quality best-management procedures. An exterior management maintenance policy requires use of the same types of products, she said.
The roof upgrade included the use of a spray polyurethane foam (SPF) membrane with a white, solar-reflective acrylic topcoat, with products supplied by SWD Urethane, Mesa, AZ. The products are SWD Quik-Shield® 125 roof foam; gray acrylic basecoat; and the Quik-Shield 1929F white granulate reflective topcoat. The materials were applied by Ari-Thane Foam Products Inc., Chino, CA.
Pacific Polymers Inc. supplied the deck-coatings products Elasto-Deck 5001 basecoat and Elasto-Glaze 6001AL top coat, in a light tan color, for exterior walkways.
In the San Diego area, LEED-certified science/nature and art museum buildings include the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, The Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species at the San Diego Zoo, and the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas, CA. Each earned LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) certification. The San Diego Natural History Museum is the only museum in San Diego County, and the first in Balboa Park, to achieve LEED-EB: O&M certification. Balboa Park is described as the nation’s largest cultural park, with 15 museums, performing-arts venues, gardens, and the San Diego Zoo.
Todd Gloria, a member of the San Diego City Council, said Balboa Park has embarked on an initiative to bring the park into “environmental balance” by 2015. “The Natural History Museum’s LEED certification is a tangible milestone toward that goal,” he said.
Nationally, the only LEED-certified natural history museums are the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the Water+Life Museums in Hemet, CA, and the Carnegie Mellon Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles is also LEED certified for Existing Building under an earlier version of LEED-EB.
Celebrating its 135th year, the San Diego Natural History Museum is the second oldest scientific institution in California, and the third oldest west of the Mississippi. A binational museum, its mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education, and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California and to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment. Located in Balboa Park at the intersection of Village Place and Park Blvd., the Museum is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Phone: 619.232.3821. Website: www.sdnhm.org.
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