National Nordic Museum Wins AAM Sustainability Award

Date Posted: 06.04.2020

National Nordic Museum has been recognized with a 2020 Sustainability Excellence Award by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), a national organization representing the entire scope of the museum community. First presented in 2014, the awards recognize sustainability efforts in museum facilities, programming and exhibits.

LEED Gold certified, the National Nordic Museum was honored in the New Construction category for a project that successfully integrates museum planning and design with an extensive program of sustainability measures to create architecture that both evokes its cultural history and responds to its current site.

AAM Sustainability Excellence Award jury chair Joyce S. Lee, states, “At the Nordic Museum, the facility goals were well articulated through the client and the design team. And the beautiful execution reflects its overall thoughtfulness about a lighter footprint.”

The LEED Gold certified museum achieved an impressive 61.7 EUI in the first year of operation (compared with a CBEC benchmark for museums of 128 EUI). Climate control is an environmental challenge for many museums, since properly storing and exhibiting art and artifacts can be an energy intensive practice. The integrated design team, including PAE Consulting Engineers (mechanical and electrical engineering), decided that most of the facility could be designed to meet ASHRAE Class C levels, while ASHRAE Class A levels would be maintained in collection storage areas and the changing exhibition gallery. Sensitive artifacts displayed outside these areas are exhibited in climate-controlled vitrines to properly ensure their safekeeping.

The building features energy-efficient air source heat pump technology that is designed to achieve 24% reduction below a baseline code building—a remarkable achievement for a collection-based museum—as well as reduced construction and operating costs.