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California Academy of Sciences goes "double platinum" with new LEED award

InPark reported on the California Academy of Sciences in this issue.

SAN FRANCISCO, USA /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Three years and more than five million visitors after its celebrated Sept 2008 re-opening, the California Academy of Sciences was presented with its second LEED Platinum award by the U.S. Green Building Council. This makes California Academy of Sciences the world’s first “Double Platinum” museum and the world’s largest Double Platinum building. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the Academy building houses an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and world-class research and education programs under one living roof, standing as an embodiment of its 158-year-old mission to explore, explain, and protect the natural world.

The new award bolsters San Francisco’s efforts to maintain its designation as the greenest city in the country. “We couldn’t be more proud of the California Academy of Sciences for its commitment to high levels of environmental performance, and for setting the example as a leader in the San Francisco green building community and around the world,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. “Their Double Platinum rating is truly a remarkable achievement for our City.”

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is a consensus-based standard for evaluating high-performance, sustainable buildings, and the Platinum rating is its highest award. In October 2008, the Academy received its first LEED Platinum rating under the “New Construction” category, which focused on the building’s design and construction process. Today, the Academy received its second LEED Platinum award under the “Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance” category, which certifies that its day-to-day operations and business practices also meet the highest standards of sustainability.

The Academy’s operations and maintenance practices were evaluated and earned points across six different categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. Based on a wide range of green practices and performance metrics, including staff transportation, purchasing decisions, and high recycling and composting rates, it was awarded a total of 82 points, exceeding the threshold for a Platinum certification (80 points).

Founded in 1853, the California Academy of Sciences is one of the world’s preeminent natural history museums and is an international leader in scientific research about the natural world. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the Academy’s original home in Golden Gate Park, but also provided a silver lining: the opportunity to reinvent the facility from the ground up. After nearly a decade of planning and the largest cultural fundraising effort in San Francisco history, the new Academy opened to the public in 2008. This major new initiative built on the Academy’s distinguished history and deepened its commitment to advancing scientific literacy, engaging the public, and documenting and conserving Earth’s natural resources.

“Our LEED Platinum building is a marvelous example of sustainable architecture that has wowed millions of visitors since we opened three years ago,” said Dr. Gregory Farrington, Executive Director of the Academy. “However, it is more than just a building. It is also a stage—one that has allowed us to host a wide variety of programs and exhibits about the history and future of life on Earth. Delivering these programs as sustainably as possible helps us inspire our visitors to make sustainable choices in their own lives.”

The California Academy of Sciences is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, and world-class research and education programs—all under one living roof. Visit www.calacademy.org.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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