Field Museum Achieves LEED Gold

CHICAGO — The Field Museum in Chicago was awarded LEED Gold certification for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EB O+M) on March 16.

One of the world’s largest natural history museums, The Field Museum is one of only two museums in the U.S. that has earned LEED-EB O+M Gold certification. It is believed that it is the oldest museum building to achieve LEED.

The achievement is helping the museum with its long-term goals of increasing on-site generation of renewable energy while driving down overall energy use. Much of the work over the past two years to become more sustainable has focused on assessing indoor air quality for exhibition space and artifact storage. The museum has been working on improving energy and water tracking, upgrading lighting and controls, and reviewing landscaping and on-site renewable energy.

“The Field Museum has long held sustainability as core to our mission and culture, so achieving LEED [Gold EB O+M]certification was a priority for us. We made huge strides over the past two years and are proud to share the results with our visitors,” Richard Lariviere, museum president and CEO, said in a statement.

The Delta Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that is focused on sustainable practices, helped the museum earn its LEED status.

“We are proud to have helped The Field Museum reach this milestone. While the age, unique infrastructure and sheer size of the building presented a number of challenges, it’s exciting to see The Field establish itself as a sustainability leader among museums worldwide,” said Jean Pogge, Delta Institute CEO, in a statement.

The museum occupies more than 1.3 million square feet of space. Delta Institute began working with The Field Museum in 2013 on comprehensive sustainability improvements, examining the building’s energy and waste infrastructure and operations protocol.

The museum was able to achieve LEED Gold EB O+M certification through a number of efforts, including energy-efficient lighting. A lighting audit identified almost 20,000 fixtures in the building. Now, about 30 percent of the 6,700 fixtures that have inefficient incandescent bulbs have been replaced with LED lights that are five times more efficient.

The museum also has a goal of replacing 100 percent of its exhibit and spotlighting with LED fixtures. Additionally, the museum has implemented a landscaping redesign on its three-acre property that will help with planting native species and will incorporate sustainable stormwater efforts.