Phase One of Babcock Ranch, FL is slated to open next year.
It’s pretty exciting to see that a whole community will be powered by the sun and what better place than Florida. Per EcoBuildingPulse,com, in 2006, developer Syd Kitson released plans for Babcock Ranch, a massive community to consist of 19,500 homes powered exclusively by the sun (but void of any unsightly solar systems on roofs).
Instead of individual PV panels, the community and the broader region will be supplied with solar energy via Florida Power and Light’s 74.5 megawatt Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center. Expected to be operational by the end of the year, the 443-acre solar power plant will be located in the Babcock Ranch and will supply more than enough energy to meet residents’ needs, according to project planners.
“Babcock Ranch will exemplify what it means to be a town of the future, offering residents a highly unique balance of the most technologically advanced infrastructure and amenities, with ready access to a rich natural environment and a true sense of community,” says Kitson, CEO of West Palm Beach, Fla.-based development firm Kitson & Partners.
Phase 1 development encompasses 1,100 single-family and multifamily residences and a downtown area with a wellness center, café, restaurant, and outdoor outfitter shop.
For more information check out Builderonline.com. We’ll be on the look out for the development of the town, they should be welcoming their new residents by 2017.
The Natural History Museum in LA County just launched the Urban Nature Research Center to promote the study of wildlife in densely populated Southern California. This is a new twist for the 103 year old institution and it is the first project of its kind in the United States.
The new initiative will combine the work of NHM’s Nature Garden and Nature Lab, which focus on plants and animals on museum property, with its various citizen-science projects and animal surveys, all with a budget of $250,000 a year.
The ultimate goal is to increase knowledge and understanding of the ecosystems in L.A.’s mountains, parks, streets, backyards and even medians.
There have been many exciting new species discoveries right in LA, including 43 new species of fly. And with this new program the ability to catalog and use that data increases immensely.
NHM will also have the ability to utilize the “citizen science” program. Basically, every day people get to participate in plant and animal surveys and submit that data using their smartphones to platforms like iNaturalist. Although many aren’t familiar with the program, Lila Higgins, NHM’s manager of citizen science “is working to change that by reaching out to communities across the region and asking them to look at the animals around them.”
NHM is also launching what it’s calling the world’s largest biodiversity project, dubbed the SuperProject, that will examine 200 urban-nature sites from the coast to the desert.
All in all, NHM’s new focus is part of a larger shift from museums and how they are setting about redefining their role in the community and beyond.
Lila Higgins says, “we’re really trying to push it forward and see how we can work with our communities […] and I think the Urban Nature Research Center is the perfect example of that.”
Credit Brooklyn Museum
The free ASK Brooklyn Museum app has been in testing this past year and it just launched on iOS and became available on Android last month. The innovative technology is unique to the museum, said Shelley Bernstein, the vice director of digital engagement and technology at the museum, and was implemented to help visitors better engage with and make connections between the works in the 560,000-square-foot museum.
The app only works in the museum but it allows visitors to ask questions and share photos of objects on display in real time. On average, a member of the six-person Audience Engagement Team will respond within 45 seconds. The exchange is as anonymous as the user wants it to be.
It is important to note that the Museum wants to promote engagement and not have people getting sucked into their phones.” Audience Engagement Team member Andrew Hawkes says, “they’re looking more closely at the art, they’re noticing things, they’re thinking more critically about the work and learning more. That’s a really great feeling.”
Since its launch, there have been about 4,000 conversations through the app. The museum is using data pulled from those exchanges to improve collection installations and exhibition design. It expects about 1% of visitors overall to use the app.
As, Bernstein says, “there’s lots of information in the building, and some want this experience, some want a guided experience. It fits within that framework.”
We are definitely excited to see how ASK will promote audience engagement and get visitors to look at the artwork in new creative ways.
It is exciting to see that a museum was chosen as one of the 2016 AIA COTE top ten green projects of the year! Check out the specs via AIA below.
From the AIA:
The Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA, is an interactive science museum that also demonstrates innovation and sustainability in its design and construction. The building takes advantage of the historic pier shed’s natural lighting and the 800’ long roof provided room for a 1.3 megawatt photovoltaic array. The water of the Bay is used for cooling and heating. Materials were used that that are both sustainable and durable enough to withstand a harsh maritime climate. The project is certified LEED Platinum and is close to reaching its goal of being the country’s largest Net Zero energy museum and an industry model for what’s possible in contemporary museums.
BY THE NUMBERS:
- Estimated percent of occupants using public transit, cycling or walking: 47%
- Daylighting at levels that allow lights to be off during daylight hours: 50%
- Lighting Power Density: 0.78 watts/sf
- Views to the Outdoors: 75%
- Percent reduction of regulated potable water: 50%
- Total EUI predicted (kBtu/sf/yr): 42
- Net EUI predicted (kBtu/sf/yr): 6
- Percent reduction from National Median EUI for Building Type (predicted): 92%
Photo Credit: Bruce Damonte Photography