Lehrer Architects Water + Life Museum is the first museum building to secure a Platinum LEED rating, which is all the more remarkable given that this is in the harsh desert environment of Hemet, where triple-digit summer heat is the norm, but yet where water can freeze in winter.
The LEED award is doubly impressive, as the 70,000-square-foot museum complex met the most exacting green standards (including those regarding energy and water consumption), despite this harsh environment.
The building incorporates several green elements, such as heat-blocking glass, natural light emitting windows, smart interior lighting, radiant floor heating and cooling, drought tolerant landscaping, and a drip irrigation system that uses reclaimed water.
These massive, 540-watt, 3000 panel photovoltaics provide roughly half the museum’s energy needs. The entire complex cost $40 million.
It was commissioned by the Center for Water Education Foundation and the Western Center Community Foundation; who asked for the design of two new facilities with a large outdoor connecting terrace.
There is an interesting background to this museum. During the massive digging project for the largest earthworks project on US soil, the Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir, completed in 1999 by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, some very significant fossils were unearthed.
These fossils were on display at the Diamond Valley Lake Visitor Center or in storage and desperately needed a new home. The Water + Life Museum is that new home.
And it looks like it will be that new home for a very long, long time.
Via Jetson Green