Who else is excited for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s expansion plans? Recently announced is a huge vertical garden or living wall of native plants expanding the entire block. Not only that, we can also expect:
- The largest public living wall of native plants in San Francisco
- 130,000 sqft of gallery space covering indoor and outdoor exhibits
- 15,000 sqft of free access public space galleries, filled with art
- A new ‘Live Art’ display area with state of the art sound and lighting know as the White Box
- LEED Gold certification for the new building resulting in a 30% reduction in water use, 15% reduction in energy costs and 20% less wastewater produced.
- Expansion of 5th floor rooftop sculpture garden with a new seventh floor outdoor terrace
- New conservation studios to preserve and care for the SFMOMA’s growing collection
Last week, the Organic Consumers Association took a stand outside the mayor’s office in San Francisco to protest the city’s recent free composting program. (Read the article from their site here). It might sound like an odd thing to protest, especially with all the amazing benefits of composting. The national group chose San Francisco to demonstrate against since it is one of the most “green” cities in the U.S. and they felt that it would reach the best audience.
This group claims that the compost that was handed out “usually includes a number of heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, steroids, flame-retardants, bacteria (including antibiotic-resistant bacteria), fungi, parasites and viruses.” They cite an EPA survey that found heavy metals, steroids, anions, and pharmaceuticals in the biosolids from around the country
Many local governments have adopted the practice of turning biosolids into fertilizer to be sold or handed out for free. A biosolid is made from treated and processed sewage. The EPA claims that these biosolids contain “nutrient-rich organic materials”. Be careful to realize that when they say organic here, they do not mean certified organic, but organic as in organic chemistry. Read more about biosolids on the EPA’s website.
The reasoning for taking sewage and turning it into biosolids for farms and gardens sounds compelling at first glance. In the past, this sewage was dumped straight into lakes, streams, and other natural water sources. › Continue reading
As a little post-thanksgiving trip, my family and I decided to head down to the all new California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. If you aren’t familiar, it houses the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, and is home to world-class research and education programs- all under one green roof.
What a extraordinary building and beautiful place. The recently completed rebuild due to damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, boasts a design by award-winning architect Renzo Piano. The green architecture is readily apparent, but does not distract from the elegance and architectural design of the building. One of the most striking features, noticeable right away, is the green roof. This living roof is planted with 2.5 acres of native vegetation, composed of 9 native California species. No irrigation is required and it will provide habitat for a diverse collection of wildlife, from hummingbirds to butterflies. An amazing (and at the same time kind of terrifying) feature is that this native garden roof contains the largest concentration of native vegetation in San Francisco (an estimated 1.7 million native plants). See other green living roofs and walls in a previous post.
“When the Academy was faced with the need to rebuild, the institution’s visionary Board of Trustees committed to building a new home that was as sustainable as possible,” said Academy Executive Director Dr. Gregory Farrington. “Our goal was to create a new facility that would not only hold powerful exhibits but serve as one itself, inspiring visitors to conserve natural resources and help sustain the diversity of life on Earth.
The building itself is platinum LEED certified, and at 54 points, it is the greenest (and most sustainable) museum building in the world right now. It boasts renewable energy efficiencies i had never heard of, such as sensor faucets in the bathroom which charge themselves with each use. A turbine in the plumbing generates electricity to recharge the batteries each time the faucet is turned on. Solar panels provide 10% of the museums energy needs and natural lighting in almost every room decreases the need for artificial lighting. A state of the art HVAC (heating and cooling) system was integrated into the buildings design, reducing energy costs using radiant floor heating, efficient window glass and heat recovery systems. The building itself was created using recycled and reclaimed building materials and sustainably harvested wood, and the insulation was provided from recycled blue jeans.
Admission to the Academy is: $24.95 for adults; $19.95 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with valid ID; $14.95 for children ages 7 to 11; and free for children ages 6 and younger. The Academy is free to the public on the third Wednesday of each month. Admission fees include all exhibits and shows. Hours are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sunday. The Academy is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Visit them online at www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.
If you are lucky enough to live in San Francisco, and don’t have plans on the evening of October 23, 2008- you do now. The Eco-Chic Shopping event is organized by Appel and Frank and is being held at the Recency Center in the city. Present are over 65 green designers with products ranging from children’s clothes and accessories to organic cosmetics and beauty products. A complete list of environmentally conscious designers, products and sponsors can be viewed on the event website.
Tickets are only $15 for a pair online, or $10 at the door and include complimentary beauty services, a glass of wine, and a reusable goodie bag. Not only are you supporting local eco-conscious and sustainable designers, a proceed of door costs are donated to Friends of the Urban Forest. Check out Appel and Frank for more details. Shop til you drop, with eco-chic style!
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