This is the third in a series of posts by the Sustainability Committee in the run-up to the 2014 Annual Meeting, describing sustainability issues and initiatives in the city of San Francisco. The first blog post explained plastic bag and container laws. The second blog post described the water crisis in California.
Did you know that the California Academy of Sciences, located in San Francisco, is the world’s greenest museum? It is also the largest public LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-rated building in the world. Designed by architect Renzo Piano, it was built from recycled materials where possible, it has a green ‘living’ roof with six inches of soil for insulation and skylights that open to vent hot air, solar panels, radiant heating in the floors, and insulation made from recycled denim (yes, denim!).
The green roof is comprised of seven hillocks to pay homage to the landscape of San Francisco, and also to blend in with the setting of Golden Gate Park. It also has weather stations to provide data to the automated passive ventilation systems. The benefit of a living roof is absorption of moisture and carbon dioxide, and natural cooling of the building. It was planted with native plants intended to survive well in the San Francisco climate. There has been some critique of that idea, because native plants may not be suited to a city environment, but any new idea takes a while to be perfected. Hopefully, green roofs will become more and more common within the next decade and difficulties will be smoothed out. If you visit Golden Gate park, check out the building and see for yourself.
For more information on the LEED program and how it relates to preservation concerns take in the talk by architect Scott Schiamberg and conservator Rachael Arenstein at AIC’s Opening Session, May 29 10:50am – 11:10am A LEED primer for conservators: or, what should I do when the architect proposes daylight in our new galleries?
I also recommend the de Young Museum, with its copper exterior that is intended to turn green over time to match the park setting, and the Japanese Tea Garden because it is beautiful.