Sustainability – A Core Value
Sustainability is one of MiaSci’s core values. As a dynamic cultural, educational and research institution, MiaSci will operate in accordance with the highest environmental standards, while contributing to a healthy regional economy and enhancing community resources. In keeping with MiaSci’s commitment to the future of South Florida, MiaSci has established a Sustainability Platform that aligns the organization’s mission, program and operations with sustainability goals in three related areas:
• People – celebrating South Florida’s rich diversity of languages and cultures while providing all members of the community with access to science learning opportunities that can enhance their lives;
• Planet – conserving the region’s unique environmental resources, including land, wetland and marine areas while promoting solar, water, wind and other sources of renewable energy;
• Prosperity – building a 21st century regional economy supported by a skilled workforce, and driven by dynamic knowledge-based industries such as the biosciences, medical, information technology and education.
A Green Building
As the era of fossil fuels draws to a close, MiaSci will demonstrate and promote best practices that support energy conservation and independence in the 21st century. MiaSci’s building will meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for energy use, waste management, and environmental impact, creating a new model for museum design worldwide. The following sketches illustrate how renewable resources available at downtown location are being incorporated into the new building design:x
The U. S. Department of Energy has funded a series of studies to help make the new building more energy efficient:
- Daylighting Study, to optimize the building’s daylight design while ensuring visual comfort
- Airflow Study, to evaluate options for the building form that take advantage of natural breezes flowing through the site
- On-Site and Renewable Power Study, to analyze renewable energy technology options and other technologies based on anticipated building loads
- Life Cycle Analysis, to analyze the materials being considered for the new building in terms of their performance value, cost effectiveness, aesthetic characteristics and environmental impact.
The U. S. Department of Energy also funded a Renewable Energy Audience Survey, exploring opinions, knowledge, behaviors and attitudes broadly related to energy and the environment. The survey obtained responses from 500 Miami-Dade residents and 92 Miami Science Museum supporters, providing valuable input for further exhibit and program development.
The Energy Center
MiaSci’s Energy Center will provide a central location for monitoring all of the data streams related to the “green” building’s performance, from water consumption to the amount of renewable energy generated right on the site. Accompanying exhibits will explore emerging technologies, and an adjacent outdoor Energy Playground will provide young visitors with fun and educational opportunities to burn off their own energy, while learning about our planet’s resources.
By aligning its exhibits and practices to support conservation and renewal, the museum’s energy experience will show visitors how to improve energy usage in their own lives. MiaSci’s interactive format will allow visitors to examine potential solutions for energy production that minimize the impact on the environment. Through instant surveys, visitors will be able to evaluate their overall environmental priorities and potential solutions.