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Natural History Museum now LEED certified

San Diego Natural History Museum announced it has completed the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design (LEED) certification process.

Originally built in 1933, the facility is now the oldest existing building certified in the operations and maintenance category -- though the LEED category has only been available since April.

To help the museum achieve the rating, design professionals looked for ways to increase energy efficiency through lighting, water and material use.

The LEED certification process began in 2007, when the museum was required to make certain retrofits in order to qualify to host the “Dead Sea Scrolls” exhibition. Israel Antiquities Authority insisted the museum improve air quality and control moisture, air temperature and air volume.

In total, the measures reduced the museum’s energy consumption by more than 20 percent, resulting in a payback of two years or less.

The project was led by Shawn Whisman and Rusty Gehm of the Natural History Museum’s building operations team, with direction from CFO and COO George Brooks-Gonyer. The LEED team was managed by Christina Sarkees of Zagrodnik + Thomas Architects. EA Engineering and Engineered Mechanical Services Inc. oversaw mechanical systems and energy performance.

Waxie Sanitary Supply conducted an analysis of the Natural History Museum’s cleaning practices and suggested ways to reduce the resulting health and environmental impacts. Seventy-five percent of the cleaning products purchased during the performance period were green.

San Diego Gas & Electric also assisted the museum by analyzing six years of energy usage data. SDG&E coordinated light and water surveys and tracked employees’ use of alternative transportation in order to suggest ways the museum could reduce its overall footprint.

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