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California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA

What is the LEED Certification?

Founded in 1853, California Academy of Sciences (originally, California Academy of Natural Sciences which was renamed in 1868) is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Situated in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, the academy carries out researches in botany, paleontology, organizes exhibitions and educational courses. The building was renovated in 2008, opened to public in September 2008. Now it consists of four main parts – Steinhart Aquarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, Morrison Planetarium and the rainforest. Gross floor area is 37,000 square meters. The sustainable building which is also considered the greenest museum in the world was awarded LEED Platinum certification for its sustainable design on October 7, 2008.

Compared with other museum buildings, the Academy uses 30-35 % less energy, thanks to floor heating, solar panels installed on the roof and heat recovery mechanisms. Natural light penetrates into 90% of the space through operable windows. Strategies of renewable energy are widely used in the building. Among them are PV cells, generating 5% of energy, multi-crystalline Solar cells and solar canopies. The building is also considered water-efficient. The 10,100 m² green roof of the building absorbs rainwater. Reclaimed water is later used in toilets. Most of building materials – concrete, steel, wood, etc. - is recycled. There are also CO2 sensors, ventilation systems and bike storages in the complex. Designed by eminent architect Renzo Piano, the building has earned a number of prestigious awards (Holcim Award, Urban Land Institute Award, etc.).

By Astghik Atabekyan,


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