|In the heart of one of the country's largest urban parks, the California Academy of Sciences is building a new LEED Platinum Green Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Its 2.5-acre undulating greenroof will sit 35 feet in the air planted with a variety of wildflowers and other native species. The San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation made a $20 million donation to the new Academy project in support of the living roof and the four-story living rainforest exhibit. In honor of this generous gift, the Academy announced the naming of The Osher Living Roof and The Osher Rainforest (CAS Press Release of 6.07.07, see below).|
In September, 2005, the California Academy of Sciences was selected as the North American winner of the silver Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction in recognition of its innovative ?green? design of their new facility. The new $429-million California Academy of Sciences broke ground in September, 2005 and the Opening Day was September 27, 2008.
Beneath the 2.5-acre living roof, a single building measuring 410,000 sf houses the academy components that once stretched across 12 structures. The key elements are the new iterations of the Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum and Steinhart Aquarium. Also included are eight scientific research departments, an indoor rainforest and a coral reef exhibit with some 4,000 fish in a 212,000-gallon tank that the academy says is the deepest living display of its kind. "In addition to the living elements, the academy's roof includes several other energy efficient features. The mounds on the roof are dotted with circular skylights fitted with heat sensors, and the skylights open to further cool the building when a certain temperature is reached. The planted area is surrounded by 60,000 photovoltaic cells that are to supply 5 to 10 percent of the academy's energy needs and prevent the release of more than 405,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually," GreenerBuildings, 2008, see below).
|Rana Creek Living Architecture worked with Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Chong and Partners Architrecture, SWA Group, ARUP Engineering, and the Academy to design the living roof that covers the vegetated roof with seven dramatic hills - four steeply sloped domes - replicating the surrounding rolling hills. The biodegradable modular greenroof system, BioTray?, was developed specifically for this project by Paul Kephart of Rana Creek and Kurt Horvath of Intrinsic Landscaping (BioTray? was later purchased by Tremco). Two of the domes are almost 60 degree slopes. Rana Creek supplied approximately 50,000 17" x 17" biodegradable modular "Bio Trays," made from coir from the Philippines. The roof has been planted with nine plant species native to the northern California coast, and approximately 1.7 million plants will blanket the living roof. The three-year research period during which Rana Creek Living Architecture designed, built and monitored a series of living roof mock ups, informed this diverse assemblage of indigenous plants, as well as the soil retention and drainage techniques ultimately chosen for the project. The California Academy of Sciences is unique amongst natural history museums in its dedication to combining research and education under one roof."|
Padded with six inches of soil, the roof will provide excellent insulation, keeping interior temperatures about 10 degrees cooler than a standard roof and reducing low frequency noise by 40 decibels. It will also decrease the urban heat island effect, staying about 40 degrees cooler than a standard roof. Moreover, it will absorb about 98% of all storm water, preventing up to 3.6 million gallons of runoff from carrying pollutants into the ecosystem each year," (CAS Press Release).
According to the Academy's website, "The native plants will provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Beach strawberries (Fragaria chiloensis) produce berries that attract a number of native birds, self heal (Prunella vulgaris) bears large tubular flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds and bumble bees, sea pink (Armeria maritime) produces pom-pom-like flowers that attract moths and butterflies, stonecrop (Sedum spathulitholium) produces nectar for the Hairstreak butterfly and the threatened San Bruno elfin butterfly, tidy tips (Layia platyglossa) attract parasitic wasps and pirate bugs that feed on pest insects, miniature lupine (Lupinus bicolor) and California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) provide nectar for bees and butterflies, California plantain (Plantago erecta) hosts a variety of butterfly larvae, and the bright yellow flowers produced by Goldfield plants (Lasthenia californica) attract a wide variety of beneficial native insects."Surrounding the Living Roof is a large glass canopy with a decorative band of 60,000 photovoltaic cells. These solar panels will generate approximately 213,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year and provide up to 10% of the Academy's electricity need. The use of solar power will prevent the release of 405,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emission into the air," continues the website, referring to additional Sustainable Design and LEED features.
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|See "California Academy of Sciences Poised to Open New Green Quarters" by Leslie Guevarra from GreenerBuildings of August 22, 2008 here, and read the "DRAMATIC LIVING ROOF INSTALLED ATOP NEW CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, MAKING IT THE "GREENEST" MUSEUM EVER CONSTRUCTED" CAS Press Release of 6.07.07 here. Although the roof is generally inaccessible except for special tours, a viewing platform is available. Read the Academy's Green Building Fact Sheet here, see the Living Roof page here, and for complete info, visit the California Academy of Sciences website. Read about the following companies in The Greenroof Directory: American Hydrotech and Tremco.|
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