• Committed to Creating Sustainable Museums

    Museums have almost universally embraced sustainable and green design principals. Verner Johnson, Inc. has been and continues to be committed to creating sustainable buildings that withstand the test of time aesthetically, operationally, and functionally. Our design process helps ensure that our buildings will continue to perform as well 50 years out as they do when they open. VernerJohnson’s entire firm has participated in a series of in-house training seminars for LEED™ Accredited Professionals. Currently two-thirds of our architects, including two of our Principals, are LEED certified.

    Sustainable Design as an “Endowment”

    We understand that most museums and science centers would rather use operating funds for programming and that finding funds for building maintenance can be difficult. We help assure minimal long-term maintenance costs and longer-lasting buildings by specifying highly durable materials and by being very particular about how these materials are chosen and installed. This approach can cost more initially, but we have found it to be an effective way to “endow” a building’s long-term viability.


    Museum_at_PrairiefireMuseum at Prairiefire – LEED Silver

    With an architectural concept that is rooted in sustainability (the controlled burn of the tallgrass prairie), the Museum design and construction needed to embody environmentally sound practices as well. With the inclusion of a wetlands park, 77% of the site is dedicated to vegetated open space. The project significantly reduced overall water use, saving 41% inside the building through installation of low flow fixtures, and 76% savings in landscaping through the use of native plantings, high-efficiency sprinkler heads, and automatic irrigation controls. To reduce energy consumption, the HVAC system utilizes energy recovery wheels to extract heat and moisture from exhaust air in order to condition incoming fresh air. High efficiency glazing, LED light fixtures and occupancy and daylight sensors also provide energy savings.  Other sustainable features include installation of locally-sourced materials, recycled materials, and low-VOC materials.



    1Flint Hills Discovery Center – LEED Gold

    The Flint Hills Discovery Center is the first city building in Manhattan, KS to achieve LEED certification. It has a heating and cooling system that is supported by geo-thermal well fields and heat pump technology; uses LED or low-voltage lighting components for exhibition, architectural and landscape features; has a complex green roof consisting of soils, gardens and terraces; has two on-site bioswales used for groundwater filtration; and was able to obtain more than 85% of the building’s materials and labor source from within a 50 mile radius of the site.





    Carnegie.DinoDramaCarnegie Museum of Natural History – LEED Silver

    The “Dinosaurs in Their Time” project was the museum’s largest expansion in 100 years, and the first in its history to undergo LEED certification. Aggressive daylighting strategies not only lowered the museum’s energy consumption, but also greatly enhanced the exhibit experience. In addition to using recycled materials and reducing project waste, the design was able to minimize heating and cooling systems and maximize passive systems to maintain the rigorous climate control issues required for maintaining one of the world’s premier dinosaur fossil collections.





    photo-1Caguas Science Center – LEED Silver

    Sustainability is a large part of both the museum’s mission and the subject matter of the exhibits. It is the first museum in Puerto Rico to receive LEED certification. The project is an extensive re-use of an existing structure that incorporates a new energy efficient building envelope and natural light. Its other sustainable features include the implementation of a 15,500 square foot green roof (to reduce the heat-island effect and for storm water collection/re-use), a new permeable planting entry plaza, and the use of solar panels.





    rjla_tampa0826-6x9Tampa Bay History Center – LEED Silver

    The Tampa Bay History Center is Hillsborough County government’s first “green” building. Both the construction and exhibits adhere to LEED criteria. The building’s site is a former industrial waterfront land that has been reclaimed and restored to a near natural state. Extensive recycling during construction diverted 95% of construction debris from landfills. Other sustainable features include brick paving recycled from historic Tampa streets, the atrium’s argon filled double-pane exterior windows (providing extra insulation and wind-resistance), and south facing glazing which is shaded to provide natural light while preventing solar heat gain in Florida’s hot climate.