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24 Jul

NHMU receives LEED Gold Certification

nhmuThis certification surpasses the award-winning project’s original goal of LEED® Silver.

The $64.5 million, 163,000 square foot Museum was completed by Big-D Construction in November of 2011.  The museum houses more than 1.2 million extraordinary objects and offers gallery and education spaces to further its mission of public engagement in the sciences.

Sustainability and sensitivity to the environment remained important factors during the design and construction of this project. Some of the Museum’s sustainable traits, energy efficiencies, and recycled materials and resources include:

  • More than 75% of the Museum’s construction waste was recycled, including 205 tons of wood, 154 tons of metal, 24 tons of plastic and cardboard, 1,086 tons of concrete, and 2.1 tons of recycled office supplies. The total weight of recycled material equals 1,471 tons.
  • More than 25% of the structural and architectural materials are of recycled materials
  • The rebar contains 95% recycled material and the structural steel contains approximately 75% recycled material.
  • All concrete contains 15-30% fly ash, a by-product of coal-fired power plants, and some mixes contain up to 40% slag, a waste product from metal smelting. In all there were a total of 789 tons of fly ash, and 565 tons of slag used, helping to reduce the release of carbon emissions.
  • Approximately 20% of the structural and architectural materials were harvested, extracted and manufactured locally (within a 500-mile radius), resulting in a smaller carbon footprint and investment into local and regional economies. 
  • The site’s stone walls, called “gabion walls” are constructed of stone taken from the original excavation for the building.
  • Construction materials incorporated into the new Museum building are low-emitting materials to comply with strict Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) requirements.
  • Motion detectors are located throughout the building to turn lights on and off, depending on occupancy.
  • At least 90% of regularly occupied spaces have access to daylight and outside views, reducing energy use.
  • Storm water management system retains all of the runoff produced as a result of the newly constructed Rio Tinto Center. Pervious concrete pavement covers the parking area, space for 150 cars, allows direct recharge of rainwater into the site’s ground water system.
  • The Rio Tinto Center incorporates light concrete pavement and white roofing material to reduce or eliminate elevated temperatures known as “heat island effect,” improving the surrounding environment and quality.
  • Outdoor lighting is designed not to contribute to light pollution for surrounding areas, achieving the LEED “dark sky” requirement
  • The Museum site and planted roof use water efficient landscaping, with low water use plantings. Sections of the site are re-vegetated with native plants that require no supplemental water irrigation.
  • Two 10,000-gallon cisterns collect rainwater to irrigate the Museum site.
  • High efficiency fixtures are used throughout

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED is a self-assessing measurement tool, based on a point system, which focuses on a number of design and construction strategies aimed at reducing a building’s environmental footprint.

This marks Big-D’s 30th LEED certified project completed, with another 27 which are LEED registered*. Big-D also currently employs over 50 LEED AP’s and continually promotes and encourages continued education in green building practices for all employees.

About the Natural History Museum of Utah

About NHMU For more information, please visit nhmu.utah.edu.