Olson Kundig Architects - Lightcatcher at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, WA - Sustainable Strategies Print E-mail
Monday, 15 November 2010 07:56
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Edited by Lynda Waggoner


Lightcatcher Building at the Whatcom Museum – Sustainable Strategies

The Lightcatcher Building is the first LEED Silver museum in Washington State. Exhibits will educate visitors on green building strategies and technologies, using the museum as an example. The Lightcatcher – an iconic 36-foot-tall, 180-foot-long translucent wall – incorporates sustainable strategies:
Olson-Kundig-Lightcatcher-09• Daylight filters through it to naturally light portions of the building
• Outside air enters through openings in the Lightcatcher, naturally ventilating portions of the building;
• During warm weather, the stack effect pushes warm air up and out of the building through the double-skin of the Lightcatcher;
• In cooler weather, upper vents in the Lightcatcher can be closed, allowing the cavity between the glass surfaces to become an insulating layer;
Olson-Kundig-Lightcatcher-15Other sustainable strategies include:

Sustainable Sites
• The service drive has pervious paving
• Stormwater is channeled into raingardens located in the courtyard and in the public sidewalk planting adjacent to the museum
• A green roof above the lobby reduces the heat island effect, provides greater insulation value, diverts storm water runoff, and provides a microhabitat for wildlife
Olson-Kundig-Lightcatcher-16aWater Efficiency
• The rainwater harvesting system provides enough water for toilets approximately ten months of the year
• The building has low flow plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals, as well as rainwater-harvested water for the toilets

Energy and Atmosphere
• Heat reflective Energy Star roofing reduces heat gain inside the building and reduces the heat island effect in the surrounding area
• The Lightcatcher gallery and lobby spaces utilize radiant floor heating and cooling, as well as natural ventilation
• The HVAC system uses high efficiency boilers and chillers

Materials and Resources
• Over 75% of demolition and construction waste were diverted for recycling or reuse
• High recycled-content structural steel is used
• Concrete has high fly ash content

Indoor Environmental Quality
• All the wood used in the building is certified and sustainably harvested
• Office spaces have daylight and exterior views
• Low VOC paints, adhesives and sealants are used in interior spaces

Innovation and Design Process
• Life cycle cost analyses were performed on mechanical systems to determine relative payback scenarios for the sustainable technologies used in the building.
• “Green Power" will be purchased from the power company
• We performed computational fluid dynamic analysis at the Lightcatcher gallery to design the cooling, heating and ventilation systems and predict the performance of the Lightcatcher.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 November 2010 11:27
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