Friday, October 3, 2008

LEEDership in museums: part 2

maria mortati, gyroscope inc, museums Hi, Scott Moulton guest blogging-- I'm an Exhibit Designer here at Gyroscope. I am in the process of studying for a test to become a LEED Accredited Professional and thought it might be useful to make a couple postings on the LEED certification process. As mentioned in Maria's introductory post, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a building rating system developed by the US Green Building Council in 1998. Who are these kings and queens of green you might ask? They are a group of organizations from the building industry that came together to create a set of quantifiable measures to evaluate the environmental performance of buildings. They have developed rating systems that address 5 types of construction:
  • Homes
  • Commercial Interiors
  • Core and Shell
  • New Construction
  • Schools / Healthcare / Retail
Within each of these categories a project is awarded points based on its ability to meet specific criteria. Once the points have been totaled, the project is given a rating of certified, bronze, gold, or platinum. Having your building LEED certified is a great opportunity for your organization. It greatly shapes the design and construction process by forcing people to think about the far-reaching implications of building and should give the project a real sense of ambition. From a public relations perspective, it clearly demonstrates your commitment to the environment and gives you a nice talking point when describing your project. Sounds good right? Everyone wants to do the right thing and a museum has a special opportunity for leadership on this issue. Your museum is going to be platinum isn't it? The great thing about this system is that it is extremely demanding. Several years ago I was working at an architect's office and there was a project in the office with a green roof, solar panels, and was built on a brownfield [a former industrial site that may have some contamination]. This project used an innovative onsite sewage treatment system and rainwater collection and only hit gold. This is not meant to be a discouragement, just know that it is a very demanding standard. Next time you see a building that is promoting it's bronze award, know that they went to great lengths to achieve that. I'll be giving you updates from time to time on how this applies to museums. Check back often, or subscribe to an RSS Feed on this blog to be notified. Here are a few museums that have achieved LEED ratings: California Academy of Science Children's Discovery Museum, Normal, IL Grand Rapids Art Museum Water + Life Museum Brooklyn Children's Museum

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