Take a tour of the world's greenest museum
The historic California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco has re-opened for business and is being called the 'greenest museum' in the world. Correspondent Sumi Das talks to Aaron Pope, the manager of sustainability programs at the Academy about the energy efficient technologies they're using to reduce costs including a solar installation and a natural ventilation system. He also discusses how the museum is marketing its 'green' innovations to attract more visitors. The strategy is working, the museum is averaging 43,000 visitors a week, which is 60 percent better than initial projections.
The historic California Academy
>> The historic California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco has re-opened for business and is being called the greenest museum in the world. The renovation of the 150 year old institution was 3 years in the making. The idea was to create an eco-friendly museum from the ground up. Aaron Pope assumed spelling is the manager of sustainability programs at the Academy.
>> Inside this building we had to fit a rainforest, a tropical reef, a natural history museum, and a planetarium and a very large public space. So when you think about combining all those different features together into 1 building, something like this had never been done before. So a lot of the challenges were to decide how to take all of these pieces and make them fit together in a sustainable way.
>> Museum officials believe sustainability is smart business and good for the bottom line.
>> The greener the museum has helped the bottom line in 2 ways. Long term: the design features which we've integrate into this building will actually save us money in terms of our water bill and our energy bill and probably in terms of our maintenance expenses too.
>> One of the highlights of the Academy is this living roof. It has more than 1.7 million individual plants and it covers 2.5 acres. Bird sounds. The living roof provides natural ventilation inside the building, reducing the need for a costly air conditioning system.
>> These very steep hills help to channel cold air into the piazza once the cold air enters in through the piazza it's then sucked out into these other windows into the main opening of public spaces and cools it naturally. The museum also uses solar energy to power 8% of its operations.
>> We figure we'll probably save anywhere between 15 and 100,000 dollars a year from this, from this photo ray and they will pay themselves back over the course of probably about 15-17 years.
>> The green features have also helped the museum achieve valuable LEAD platinum certification. LEAD which stands for leadership in energy and environmental design is an organization responsible for setting standards on green building design. Engineers used recycled materials in the construction process from steel and cement in the walls to even blue jeans for insulation.
>> What this material is, is actually scraps of blue jean denim from a denim factory. There is a company that takes these scraps and grinds them up and compresses them into this insulation material and this insulation material is actually in the walls throughout the academy.
>> The total cost to build the new academy 488 million dollars, which was 10% more than if architects went the conventional construction route. But museum officials are hoping to recoup those costs and achieve profitability through energy efficiency and by attracting visitors.
>> The public is very, very interested in supporting organizations which are going green and showing concern for the environment and a very big part of our image and our lure right now Background music I think is the fact that we've made a very big commitment to try and lower our own environmental foot print and also to educate visitors about environmental problems and possible solutions that they may face out in the real world.
>> For BNET I'm Sumi Das.
==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Techologies ====