CLEED

Sustainability Consultancy for Cultural Institutions

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@Exploratorium at Pier 15 – 2016 #AIA COTE Top Green Projects

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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%

exoloreBruce Damonte
Photo Credit: Bruce Damonte Photography

 

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@GreenBuild Recap Top 10 #GreenProducts & Technologies

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This year GreenBuild took place on the hill in DC. If you wanted to learn the latest about sustainable building it was the place to be! It featured three jam-packed days of top speakers, endless networking opportunities, showcases, LEED workshops and in-depth tours of green buildings in Washington, DC.

Here’s a short recap from BuildingGreen of the best 10 products, technologies and cutting edge ideas. They all can be pretty technical, but I am partial to the last one, USAI Lighting Color Select Tunable Lighting. This kind of controllable lighting could be a key option for museum collections requiring a special spectrum of light. Be on the look out for them!

  1. Johns Manville ENRGY 3.E Halogen-Free Polyiso Insulation
    Johns Manville is the first manufacturer to sell a polyisocyanurate roofing insulation not containing TCPP, or Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate, the halogenated flame retardant used in polyiso and spray foam.
  2. Organic Furnishings from Ekla Home
    These furnishings are made from natural latex and do not require chemical flame retardants.
  3. KI Chair with AirCarbon Plastic
    The materials that go into the KI Chair come from agriculturally-sourced methane rather than petroleum, which makes the chair carbon-negative.
  4. FocalPoint Bioretention System
    This filtration systems provides the performance of natural storm water filtration on a very small footprint.
  5. Multistack Magnetic Levitation Chillers with Danfoss Compressors
    These chillers cool offices, schools, and large commercial buildings; they are energy-efficient and eliminate the need for mechanical seals, gears, pumps, and many other conventional components.
  6. Fluid-Applied Cat 5 Air Barrier System from Prosoco
    The parts that make up these air barriers are based on the high-performance “hybrid” polymer chemistry, which lacks solvents and isocyanates; in addition, the removal of phthalate plasticizers makes them eligible for use in Living Building Challenge Products.
  7. Clean Energy Collective
    The collective develops locally-sited photovoltaic facilities across the U.S. and engages with local utilities so that local people can purchase and own PV panels within a shared array.
  8. Cascadia Clip Thermal Spacers
    The Cascadia Clip offers support for cladding over insulation, and it decreases thermal bridging more effectively than conventional methods.
  9. Marvin Windows with U.S. Passive House Certification
    Marvin Windows is the first major American window manufacturer to issue a Passive House Institute U.S.-certified window. These windows are available with FSC-certified wood.
  10. USAI Lighting Color Select Tunable Lighting
    This product blends the efficacy of LEDs with the ability to provide users complete control over the color and intensity of their interior lighting.

For for information check out the full article at BuildingGreen.

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Harvard’s Commitment to Sustainability

Harvard Museum 1

 

Recently the newly renovated Harvard University Museums earned the LEED Gold Certification from USGBC. The Institution itself has made an impressive commitment to sustainability, so we would expect no less when it comes to their museums. The most innovative and poignant strategy are their super-efficient LED lightbulbs.

As noted by Harvard and numerous other cultural institutions, lighting is one of the toughest sustainability challenges to tackle. Peter Atkinson, the museums’ director of facilities planning and capital management had to work closely with the preservation department to insure that the energy efficient LED’s would provide high-quality, consistent color rendering for displaying the artwork. Not an easy problem to solve, it took months of testing and attentive analysis.

As all museum professionals know light damage to works of art remains a serious concern. “The energy of light not only causes fading and changes the color of pigments, but also catalyzes chemical reactions that lead to deterioration of paper, cloth, leather, and other materials that give works their structural integrity.” Harvard was able to install LED’s to around 2,000 fixtures, lighting the entire collection as well as eliminating the excess heat that incandescent bulbs give off. So all in all by making the switch to LED’s, Harvard has been able to lower energy costs, increase efficiency and reduce physical waste. The University’s vendor has already reported a significant uptick in requests to use them in other museum settings, a great sign for other institutions wanting to take the plunge.

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Part II: Basic Methods to Improve Indoor Air Quality for Museums

Continuing on from the previous post, here is Part II:

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Next and probably the most important is installing or retrofitting your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system. Having a properly functioning and efficient HVAC system is the most effective strategy to reducing dust, particulate and gaseous pollutants. Many damaging pollutants are handled through the use of a layered filtration system (air filters and activated charcoal filters) within the air handling systems at a museum. In exhibit cases and storage units, select materials that will not emit harmful contaminants. Good housekeeping practices, like placing entryway mats will decrease dust and allergens and always use HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners to limit particulate re-distribution. Moisture problems are another common source of indoor air pollution as they can lead to indoor mold growth. Mold can also emit VOCs and particulates, compromising indoor air quality and leading to negative health effects.  Since it is impossible to eliminate mold spores, the best way to reduce the impact of mold on indoor air quality is to prevent or promptly repair the moisture problems that enable mold growth. Purchasing a high-grade dehumidifier will solve this problem. So for HVAC systems take the time to learn about what your institution needs, talk to your Facilities manager and invest in a superior ventilation system as it creates healthier indoor air, uses less energy, and saves the museum money. All in all it can make a tremendously positive impact for the collections, staff and visitors.

Lastly, using green cleaning products will drastically lessen the amount toxic chemicals that are brought into a space. Choosing less hazardous products that have positive environmental attributes (e.g., biodegradability, low toxicity, low VOC content, low life cycle energy use) and taking steps to reduce exposure can minimize harmful impacts to collections, building occupants, visitors, plus improve indoor air quality. The best way to start to change over to green cleaning is take the following steps:

1) Plan for your green cleaning program – list every place in the museum that will be affected

2) Select certified products – do your homework and investigate all the ingredients in the chosen product, make       sure they are genuinely safe

3) Introduce green equipment and supplies

4) Adopt a green cleaning protocol with specific procedures listed

5) Lastly share the responsibility

A key aspect for any museum to adopt green standards is to share the knowledge and responsibilities among the staff. The more people are involved, the easier it will be to convince those skeptical of all the benefits from taking the above actions.

Indoor air quality is important to health, productivity and learning. And since a museum’s prime focus is a learning instrument, it is vital that we take appropriate conservation measures to ensure longevity for the collections and people.

Below are some additional resources to learn more about how to improve your indoor air quality and ultimately, green your museum.

Indoor Air Quality Association

Center for Environmental Health

PIC Green – AAM Sustainable Committee

Green Museum Accord

American Institute for Conservation

Green Guard

Cooper Hewitt Green Exhibition Design

Children’s Museum Pittsburgh

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

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Part I: Basic Methods to Improve Indoor Air Quality for Museums

inside museum-newEach museum may have it’s own individually tailored mission statement but common to all museums is that they house a specific kind of collection, have hundreds if not thousands of visitors per year and provide office space to their diligently working staff. With that said, the indoor air quality of a museum is paramount to its survival and ultimate success. Not only does the air need to be kept at a certain temperature range, but it also needs to be free of harmful toxins for both collections and people. After many years of study, researchers have found any number of air-borne toxins, such as gases or fumes released from wood, acidic paper, fire-retardant fabrics and other products used in construction. Also, corrosive vapors released by certain glues, paints, fabrics and urea-formaldehyde in plywood are found to corrode metals and create poor indoor air quality. These are just some of the dangers lurking in the air, but due to the surging green building trend and the tireless work of many committed environmental organizations, we have more product options and a wider range of knowledge to eliminate these dangerous chemicals from our air. The following are the key methods to reducing pollutants in a museum’s environment: use environmentally sound materials for construction and throughout the museum, place entryway mats to reduce dust/allergens, use proper ventilation systems, this includes using a dehumidifier and always use non toxic cleaning products, it is an absolute must. We will examine 3  categories more thoroughly in respect to specifically minimizing a museum’s indoor air pollutants.

Children’s museums were early adopters of using green materials and have set the trend for many others to follow. We all know that children are always touching, tasting and feeling everything so choosing to use materials with low or no VOC is imperative to keeping them healthy and the indoor air toxin-free. Each and every product has the ability to off-gas, meaning any residual chemicals used in making the products can be released into the surrounding indoor air. This applies to every product you may use in your museum, from the construction materials and paint used to prepare for a new exhibit to display cases, printers, photocopies and more. It also includes the actual museum objects themselves, metal, wood and paint can off-gas numerous kinds of chemicals of which museums staff has less control over. So when putting a new exhibit together look carefully at your materials and see where you can choose the environmentally safe option, nowadays paint, building materials and adhesives all have low or no VOC options. Also, choose materials that are certified formaldehyde free with near-zero off gassing. Use vegetable based or eco-solvent (low VOC) inks and substrates made form recycled paper and fabrics. And for vinyls use a biodegradable PVC alternative that when exposed to landfill conditions, is broken down by microbes. All of these choices are important first steps when making the switch to a greener museum, which results in cleaner indoor air.

Here are a few online resources to help get you started on choosing safer materials:

GreenGuard.com – Sustainable Product Guide

GreenSpec.com  – General overview of green products

BuildItGreen.com – General overview of green building products

Green Building Product Certifications  – Overview of all third party certifications

Greenexhibits.com – Tips on how to get started with a Green Exhibit

Project Regenerate UC Davis Design Museum – Green Exhibitions