A SUSTAINABLE BUILDING
“This is a 100-year building,” said Architect Ricardo Legorreta. Indeed, the architect and builders of the new Fort Worth Museum of Science and History worked hard to incorporate sustainable elements into the building’s construction.
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is partially powering its energy-efficient new building with a solar array donated through the generosity of Green Mountain Energy Company's Big Texas Sun Club®. The array is installed on the roof anad will produce 20,000 kWh of pollution-free electricity per year – enough to power the building's Urban Lantern for 8 years!
One such element is a concrete cistern with a 20,000-gallon capacity that was installed under the north courtyard. Rainwater is routed from the Museum rooftop to flow into this tank. The stored water will be used to irrigate landscaping around the building and will be supplemented by city water, if necessary. The cistern will hold enough water to irrigate the landscape for approximately one week, saving the Museum from purchasing and treating water from a city source.
The entire Children’s Museum courtyard features a permeable hardscape. This child-safe surface allows rainwater to pass through it and into the ground, then into the ground water. “We have storm water drain collection in the area that will also pick up what soaks through and take it to the cistern, as well,” said Bruce Benner, AIA, president of the building’s architect of record, Gideon Toal.
The Museum design also includes a reservoir to reclaim water from the children’s water play sculpture in the Fort Worth Children’s Museum. “This is an attempt at reclaiming as much of the water as possible that is used in the water play sculpture,” Benner said. “The water the kids will be engaged with collects into drains, flows into the reservoir, and recycles back through the system.
Another important sustainable element incorporated in the new building is “daylighting.” This is an approach to provide 90 percent of the occupants in the building some view and to have as much daylight extended as deep into the building as possible. Daylighting ensures that there are few dark, non-daylight pockets in the structure. In this case, Legorreta has accomplished daylighting through their extensive use of very large glass wall openings. “Part of the Legorreta + Legorreta design scheme is to let as much light into the building as possible,” said Museum President Van A. Romans. “Large clerestories in the energy gallery, along with other large windows throughout the building, combined with the openness of the plan, allow daylight far into the structure. “Daylight is present in 95 percent of the public space inside the new Museum,” Romans added.
RECYCLING OF DEMOLITION MATERIALS
The following items were removed from the Museum during the demolition and were recycled.
5,148 tons of concrete
140 tons of steel and metal
270 tons of asphalt
7,000 lbs. of copper wire
2,500 lbs. of copper pipe
Electrical breakers and switchgears
Specialty items: flag poles, cast iron tree grates, interior storage “cages”, etc.