Solar photovoltaic panels offset 25% of energy use
Reclaimed & Recycled Flooring
Reclaimed bowling alley & gym floor from the Elk’s Lodge used as wall paneling, and recycled cork rubber used for flooring
Steel used in framing and wall studs contains a high percentage of recycle material
Precast concrete produced locally, provides thermal storage
Spray foam insulation minimizes energy loss
Structural steel contains a high percentage of recycled material
High performance windows
Low-E glazed windows improve energy performance
We Made Platinum!
We have achieved LEED Platinum Certification, the highest level of achievement possible in the rating system! Click here to find out how we did it.
Sustainability is a core value at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Throughout the museum, we talk about stewardship—of self, community, and environment; how our small actions impact the world around us in ways large and small.
When we began construction of our new 47,000 square-foot building in 2009, our goal was to achieve LEED Platinum Certification. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized “green” building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000. LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance.
The exhibits and artifact collections have high energy demands because of their stringent climate control needs, making it a unique challenge to design a museum building to Platinum certification standards. A “Green Team” of museum staff and community members with expertise in alternative energy was established early in the design process to incorporate green building strategies including Site Management, Water Use, Recycling, Indoor Environment, Energy Model, Renewable Energy, and Energy Consumption.
One of the highlights of our efforts is the 35.87 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) solar collection system, installed on the roof as part of the Energy Consumption design. Purchased through a donation to the project, the PV system will offset museum energy use by 25%. In the future, we plan to install an additional 67 kW, which would provide 75% of our electrical needs. Visible from the building’s observation deck, the PV installation provides an opportunity for visitors to learn more about renewable energy systems. Another aspect of our Energy Consumption design is a rooftop ice storage system that creates ice during the night, when energy costs are reduced and overall temperatures are lower. During the day, at times of peak energy consumption and cost, the ice cools the building.
Steel was used as structural members in the roof and foundations, as well as in framing and wall studs, doors and in the exterior wall panel system. This material contains a high percentage of recycled content, and steel waste is easily recycled.
Concrete (both precast and cast in place) was locally produced, which reduced the amount of energy needed to transport it to the site. Because of its mass, it also acts as a thermal storage, absorbing heat during the day, and radiating it in the evenings. The concrete mix contains fly ash, which contributes to recycled content.
Recycled asphalt was used in the production of new asphalt paving onsite, keeping old asphalt out of the landfill and reducing the need to use new raw materials.
All site plantings were carefully selected to limit their water use. These plants were all grown at local facilities, limiting the amount of energy needed to transport them to the site.
During construction, some concrete was removed when the original bike path was relocated. This concrete was reused in the form of retaining walls on the north and west ends of the site.
The majority of wood products (doors, cabinetry, trim, etc.) used in the building were sustainably harvested, and are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Particleboard, or other composite woods, were specified to have recycled content, and no urea-formaldehyde, which means that they don’t emit gases after installation.
Salvaged materials reduced the amount of construction waste going to the landfill and eliminated the need to use virgin raw materials and all associated transportation and energy use in the manufacturing process. Wood flooring was salvaged from the Elk’s Lodge gymnasium and bowling alley and repurposed as wall paneling in the museum.
Gypsum wallboard and exterior sheathing was harvested and fabricated in Gypsum, Colorado. Using local materials whenever possible reduced the amount of energy needed to transport it to the site, and stimulated the local economy. Gypsum board selected also contains recycled content.
All paints, sealants and adhesives used or installed inside the building were carefully selected to have low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which means that they don’t emit gases after installation.
Countertop material was selected for its durability, which limits the need to replace it in the future. It also contains recycled content.
Used within the wall assembly, spray foam offers superior thermal performance, as well as providing a well-sealed building exterior, limiting the potential for energy loss through infiltration of air through small openings in the envelope. The batt insulation used is formaldehyde free for improved indoor air quality, and also contains recycled content.
A light colored roof covering was selected to limit the development of “heat islands” or hot microclimates that develope when dark roofing materials absorb heat from the sun.
Cork is a natural material with a very rapid growth cycle, and can be harvested and renewed within a 10 year cycle. In addition to being rapidly renewable, the cork that is used is actually recycled from bottle stopper fabrication, and therefore is considered pre-consumer recycled (meaning that it hasn’t gone to a consumer and been recycled, but rather that it is the byproduct of an industrial process that is reused). This material also contains low VOC binding agents that hold the product together.
Similar to rapidly renewable cork, the acoustic wall panels in the gallery space were made from aspen that was grown in Wisconsin. The trees were sustainably forested, and FSC certified. This rapidly renewable material was combined with a low VOC binder.
To reduce required lighting and associated energy use, a high light reflectance finish was used. The panels have high recycled content and are low-emitting also.
High performance low-E glazing, which improves the energy performance of the building, and daylighting are used to reduce the amount of lighting needed. Windows provide a connection to the outdoors.
Hard surface flooring (tile and resilient) in the museum meets FloorScore certification standards for low-emitting materials. These products also contain recycled content.
All carpet in the museum meets the Carpet and Rug Institutes Green Label Plus Certification for healthy indoor air quality. Walk-off entry carpets trap dirt and debris at the door before it can spread throughout the facility, increasing the longevity of all flooring products and reducing indoor air pollutants in the building.
Light fixtures and lamps have been selected to avoid mercury wherever possible.
Low-flow fixtures conserve water, an increasingly important issue here in our state.