Green Mission

Green Mission

The Connecticut Science Center has been built GREEN from the ground up received a LEED-certified rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED awards are given by the U.S. Green Building Council to projects that show a high level of commitment to sustainability through design and operation. Read release on LEED Gold Certification here. Here are just some of the many ways the Science Center is a real-world example of what it means to "be green".

Construction

  • LEED accredited professionals working closely with the Science Center to support the design integration required.
  • An impressive 95% of the steel used for the Science Center is manufactured from recycled cars
  • Recycling 75% of construction and demolition waste back to the manufacturing process; removal of contaminated soil and reuse as landfill cover
  • Use of locally manufactured building products, reducing the environmental impacts from transportation as well as supporting the local economy.

Energy and Natural Resource Use

  • By generating clean energy and power on site, the Connecticut Science Center is able to reduce the burden on the New England power grid and its impact on the environment by preventing the release of more than 270 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually versus an average fossil-fueled power generator. That is the equivalent of planting 63 acres of forest! The center’s fuel cell will be one of the first in the state of Connecticut to employ net metering (surplus power from the fuel cell will be fed to the utility grid at night when the science center’s power demand is less).
  • 48% of the building's exterior is comprised of special energy-saving glass. Sensors within the building detect the level of ambient light to automatically adjust artificial lighting levels, thus saving energy
  • Provisions made for a 60-foot wall of solar panels and a 200kw fuel cell to supplement electrical and heating sources that power the building
  • An accessible planted roof top deck and plaza help maintain interior temperatures. Native plantings reduce irrigation by 50% over conventional means.
  • Low flow sinks and lavatories throughout the building
  • Purchasing power generated from renewable sources that meet the Center for Resource Solutions Green e-products certification requirements.

Living Our Green Mission

  • Provide for the effective delivery and mixing of fresh air to support the health, safety, and comfort of building occupants.
  • A permanent carbon dioxide monitoring system that provides feedback on space ventilation performance
  • Office furniture and other fixtures made from recycled products
  • Exhibits within the Smart Energy Gallery, one of ten galleries in the Science Center, allow visitors to experiment with renewable energy technologies and discover ways to increase energy efficiency
  • Educational programs that help YOU join the Connecticut Science Center in being green.

Building Features

The Hartford skyline has been redefined with the distinctive Connecticut Science Center building, designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli.

Cesar Pelli & Associates was selected to design the Connecticut Science Center in September 2004 after a competition among architects from around the world. Mr. Pelli, whose offices are in New Haven, Connecticut, proposed a building concept that is strongly reflected in the final design of the Center. “The Connecticut Science Center”, Pelli said, “will be a building that will communicate the excitement of science to the surrounding streets, river, and highway. The forms are ambitious and dynamic. They appear to reach out, beyond their physical limits.”

The building is a total 154,000 square feet. The Pfizer Foundation Science Discovery Center is located on street level and faces Columbus Boulevard; this area is home to four educational laboratories and a community room. The 460-space, three-floor Science Center / Riverfront parking garage is directly adjacent to the Discovery Center, along with back-of-house support services such as the loading dock and recycling facility.

Directly above the parking garage is the main structure of the Science Center and a plaza which connects to the riverfront and downtown Hartford. In mid-2010 a pedestrian bridge opened between the Science Center plaza and the Connecticut Convention Center.

During normal operating hours guests can enter the Science Center from four locations: the parking garage elevators, the Columbus Boulevard/Discovery Center entrance, one plaza entrance at lobby level on the North and another on the East facing the river.

The lobby level is home to ticketing, general information, a 3D theater, gift shop and a SUBWAY®; a ticket is not required to enter the shop or SUBWAY®. A signature feature of the Connecticut Science Center is the Magic Carpet Roof, under which is a soaring, light-filled atrium that is 143-feet at its tallest point. The atrium separates two towers filled with attractions, events, visitor amenities and 40,000 square feet of interactive exhibits.

Fuel Cell

On December 4, 2009, the Connecticut Science Center became the first science center or museum in the country to generate the majority of its energy needs on-site with a fuel cell.* The UTC Power fuel cell technology -- developed in Connecticut -- will generate almost 100% of the electricity demanded by the Science Center on an annual basis. During operating hours, the fuel cell provides approximately two-thirds of the needed power for the downtown Hartford destination. When the Science Center’s power demand is less, the 200-kilowatt fuel cell transfers energy back into the power grid system. The cumulative effect will result in almost 100% of the energy used being created by the clean, environmentally-friendly energy source. As an added benefit, the fuel cell will provide back-up power. The fuel cell is wrapped in educational graphics which help to explain the technologies used, thus becoming one of the over 150 exhibits, including an entire exhibit gallery (Energy City) dedicated to emerging energies, at the Science Center. Fuel cells are among the cleanest energy-generation sources available in the world today and meet the strictest U.S. emissions standards. Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen in an electrochemical process to produce electricity, heat and water. A hydrogen-rich fuel is derived from natural gas in a non-combustion process called reforming.

More Information

By generating clean power on site and then recovering the heat from the electrochemical reaction, the Connecticut Science Center is able to reduce the burden on the New England power grid and its impact on the environment by preventing the release of more than 270 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. The environmental benefit is equivalent to planting 63 acres of forest to mitigate an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. *Source: Fuel Cells 2000, a nonprofit, educational organization based in Washington, D.C., with a database of fuel cell installations worldwide. Using a fuel cell for clean energy is only one of numerous initiatives of the new Connecticut Science Center in its commitment to minimizing its carbon footprint. The Science Center is anticipating a Gold Level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC is the premier “Green Building” agency created in 1993 to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. “A commitment to the environment and minimizing our carbon footprint is essential for the Connecticut Science Center,” states Matt Fleury, President and CEO of the Science Center. Fleury continues, “Just as important, our educational exhibits and programs show you how their promising new technologies work, and how science plays a part in helping us solve energy and other issues.” Additional environmentally friendly “green” initiatives taken by the Science Center include light sensors which detect natural lighting and adjust interior lighting to save energy; a rooftop garden and over 95% of the steel used to build the Science Center being made from recycled automobiles!

What is a Hydrogen Fuel Cell and why does it matter?

Hydrogen fuel cells are among the cleanest energy-generation sources available in the world today and meet the strictest U.S. emission standards. The use of hydrogen and fuel cells are vital to two of the energy challenges faced in the United States today: reducing carbon dioxide emissions and ending dependence on oil. Hydrogen can be produced from an abundant and diverse supply of domestic resources such as natural gas (the source used at the Connecticut Science Center). Fuel cells provide a clean and efficient way to use this energy and can potentially revolutionize how we create power in terms of efficiency and reducing pollution. Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen in an electrochemical process to produce electricity, heat and water. A hydrogen-rich fuel is derived from natural gas in a non-combustion process called reforming. Fuel cells are not only clean, but quiet, making them highly attractive in dense, urban environments. The fuel cell being used for the Connecticut Science Center was built by Connecticut-based UTC Power, a United Technologies company. UTC Power is a world leader in developing fuel cells to power buildings, cars and buses. In addition, UTC fuel cells have provided electric power and drinking water on all U.S. manned NASA space flights since 1966. Funding of the fuel cell being used at the Connecticut Science Center was made possible through a generous grant from the CT Clean Energy Fund, a state-administrated fund designed to promote, develop, and invest in clean energy sources for the benefit of Connecticut and her residents. Additional support has been provided by Connecticut Natural Gas, the supplier of the natural gas needed as the hydrogen source for the fuel cell, the CT Center for Advanced Technology and the CT Energy Efficiency Fund.