Academy achieves “Double Platinum” rating
September 28, 2011
On September 27, 2011, the U.S. Green Building Council presented the Academy with its second Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum award in three years, making it the world’s first “Double Platinum” museum and the world’s largest Double Platinum building.
Aaron Pope (Academy’s Manager of Sustainability Programs), Dr. Chris Andrews (Academy’s COO), Dan Geiger (Executive Director of the USGBC – Northern CA Chapter), Dr. Greg Farrington (Academy’s Executive Director), Melanie Nutter (Director of the SF Department of the Environment)
The LEED rating system is a voluntary, consensus-based standard for evaluating high-performance, sustainable buildings. By earning points across a variety of sustainability categories, buildings can earn a basic certification, Silver, Gold, or Platinum rating. In October 2008, the Academy received its first LEED Platinum rating under the “New Construction” category, which focused on the building’s design and construction process. In August 2011, the Academy received its second LEED Platinum rating under the “Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance” category, which certifies that its day-to-day operations and business practices also meet the highest standards of sustainability.
Based on a wide range of green practices and performance metrics, including transportation, purchasing decisions, and waste disposal, it was awarded a total of 82 points, exceeding the threshold for a Platinum certification (80 points). A few examples include:
- 70% of staff use alternative transportation (public transit, biking, walking) to commute to work.
- Nearly 100% of the Academy’s electricity comes from clean energy sources (Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric plant plus an on-site solar array).
- Nearly 100% of the living roof’s plants and 80% of the surrounding landscaping consist of native vegetation.
- 60-65% of the Academy’s waste is diverted from the landfill into recycling or compost. This includes waste from approximately 1.5 million visitors per year.
- The Academy incorporates sustainability into its office-related purchasing decisions, such as computers, printer paper, and cleaning products.
- The Academy provides green building education through exhibits, behind-the-scenes tours, teacher workshops, citizen science projects, and research studies by high school and university students.