The Utah Natural History Museum is a caretaker and steward of the land and was adamant that their new home be representative of that vision. The museum is currently undergoing building monitoring and verification in anticipation of its LEED Gold certification. Sustainable strategies were an integral part of the building’s design, but they aren’t terribly flashy or obvious. As Todd Schliemann told us, “There’s really no need to advertise you’re green. If you’re green – you’re green. We incorporated a lot of these things all along.”
Buried deep into the hillside, the earth helps to moderate the building’s temperature in order to minimize heating and cooling. Energy use is also reduced through a tight building envelope, high performance mechanical systems, energy efficient lighting, and a radiant heating and cooling system. The 1,400 panel rooftop photovoltaic system was installed right before Christmas and is expected to produce about a quarter of the building’s energy. Around the edges of the roof, native vegetation was planted to help infiltrate stormwater. Rainwater is collected for irrigation and stormwater is directed through pervious paving and infiltrates into the ground.