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The new California Academy of Sciences building, by italian architect Renzo Piano has an amazing 2.5 acre green roof took shape. It recovers two and mixes it with a whole new structure, which is actually very transparent, connecting it visually with the Golden Park, away from the old conception of dark museums. Shade will be provided by a canopy that goes around the bulding, with solar panels on it.
Sustainability was a key aspect of the design, as this project is one of the ten pilot "green building" projects of the San Francisco Department of Environment, aiming to get platinum LEED certification. Actually, the building will consume 30-35% less energy than required by code.The project conserves two limestone walls from the previous building, and houses a planetarium, a rain forest habitat and an aquarium, and several exhibition spaces to house the several Academy collections.
High-performance glass will be used throughout the building, reducing standard levels of heat absorption and decreasing the cooling load.Reverse osmosis humidification systems will be used to keep the research collections at a constant humidity level, reducing energy consumption for humidification by 95%.
Radiant floor heating will reduce energy needs by 5-10%. Heat recovery systems will capture and utilize heat produced by HVAC equipment, reducing heating energy use. The planted roof will provide a superior thermal insulating layer for the building, reducing energy needs for air-conditioning.
The planetarium and the bubble that contains the rain forest habitat are the two big spheres that shape the green roof. The roof becomes a landscape with California native species, that won't need extra maitenance or water, attracting local species to occupy it. Thus, the green roof won't be fully accesible to visitors, who can only walk through a small path.
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