The Exploratorium serves as a model for sustainability and green building

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023
The Exploratorium serves as model for sustainability, green building
En route to becoming one of the first and largest zero net energy museums in the world, the Exploratorium itself is an exhibit.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- En route to becoming one of the first and largest zero net energy museums in the world, the Exploratorium itself is an exhibit.

While we know and love the award-winning waterfront museum for its enlightening exhibits, visitors are invited to look deeper into the sustainability behind the space.

"Take a look around, look at the color of our walls, that's a sustainability choice," said Laura Zander, the CFO/COO of the Exploratorium. "Walk to the Baywater room and see how we're pumping water and using the temperature of that water to heat and cool our building."

With 330,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, the Exploratorium exists as a living experiment in green building.

"When we built this building, we knew we were doing a historic rehabilitation," expressed Zander. "But, the systems that run it inside are all with the view of being sustainable."

She added, "That meant over 5,000 photovoltaic panels on our roof, a Baywater heating and cooling system, a set of systems that could help us generate the right amount of electricity and lack of use of electricity as possible."

The Exploratorium aims to produce as much energy as it consumes. For the entire calendar year of 2022 into 2023, the museum has reached a net zero with the total amount of energy used by the building equaling the total amount of renewable energy created on-site.

"We have a fully hydronic, all-electric heating and cooling system that takes advantage of our site over the Bay," explained Shani Krevsky, the Project Director at the Exploratorium.

This system controls the building's temperature without the need for a cooling tower or boiler. As a result, it saves over two million gallons of potable water a year.

In addition, the Exploratorium's 80,000-square-foot rooftop is covered with photovoltaic solar panels that generate an average of 2,000 MWh of renewable energy each year.

"The entire roof is covered with these solar panels, we have 5,874 I think it is," described Jennifer Fragomeni. "It's a huge amount of solar panels."

She added, "What's great about our solar panels is that we're generating electricity that we're actually putting back to the grid, and then we're drawing from the grid."

The Exploratorium will continue to feed the grid with the energy that they generate.

"(We'll) hopefully be a model for all the other newly built buildings and rehabilitations out there."

For more information, visit here.