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The Green Life: Groundbreaking Sustainability at New Exploratorium

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October 20, 2010

Groundbreaking Sustainability at New Exploratorium

Exploratorium Rendering The Exploratorium — San Francisco's playful museum of science, art, and human perception — is relocating to a nine-acre waterfront site that might make it the world's largest net-zero-energy museum.

Plans for the new campus exemplify reuse and sustainability. We’re talking enough solar panels to cover the site’s electricity needs, galleries flooded with natural light, an Energy Star roof, toilets that flush with rain runoff, and waterless urinals. A public plaza and bicycle parking will replace an existing cement lot, and an innovative heating-and-cooling system will take advantage of the bay water’s constant temperatures. The Observatory will be the only new building; the museum will utilize two existing structures constructed nearly a century ago.

The new Exploratorium, slated for completion in 2013, will include exhibits, classrooms, teacher-training facilities, a restaurant, and a bridge that will provide free, unobstructed views of the bay and Treasure Island.

The $300-million project officially began yesterday with a groundbreaking ceremony that included jazz tunes, Darth Vader’s Imperial March, and a diving stunt.

During construction, the museum will remain open in the Marina District’s Palace of Fine Arts, its home since 1969.

--Natalya Stanko

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