Air Force museum soars to LEED gold

Air Force museum soars to LEED gold

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force’s fourth building has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification, museum officials have announced.

The $40.8 million, 224,000-square-foot building, privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation Inc., opened in June 2016 and houses four galleries: Presidential, Research and Development, Space and Global Reach, along with three science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning nodes.

The gold certification was earned in part by successfully incorporating an innovative design with locally sourced building materials, including a focus on those made from recycled content, optimized energy performance from new mechanical and electrical systems and water efficient landscaping.

Some notable statistics regarding the fourth building’s energy and environmental design include:

– 91 percent of building materials were locally sourced

– 75 percent of non-hazardous waste was recycled

– 45 percent of building materials came from recycled content

– 39 percent in energy savings from new mechanical and electrical systems

– 36 percent decrease in water usage

Although the building was designed and built with environmental considerations in mind, the project was only contractually obligated to achieve LEED silver certification. However, the fourth building planning, design and construction teams came together with museum staff and implemented additional measures to obtain the additional points necessary for LEED gold certification.

The team worked to ensure the building was designed in a way that maximized its efficiency, said Brian Curtin, the BRPH Architects-Engineers Inc. president and CEO.

“The primary design strategies used to achieve LEED gold were two-fold: reduce consumption and replace resources,” Curtin said. “By incorporating efficient lighting, mechanical and plumbing systems, the fourth building is seeing a 39 percent energy cost savings and preserving more than 135,000 gallons of water a year.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, which executes a $1 billion program annually, managed the project. However, since the U.S. Green Building Council unveiled its rating system in 2000, only a handful of USACE projects have been awarded the coveted LEED gold certification. 

Retired Lt. Gen. Jack Hudson, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force director, said achieving LEED gold is a win-win situation for both the museum and the environment.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles, and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space.


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Companies: U.S. Green Building Council

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