Green Buildings Case Studies

Brooklyn Children's Museum

145 Brooklyn Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11213

718.735.4400 (p)
Greta Pemberton

About the Project:

There are many other sustainable features here at Brooklyn Children’s Museum. What have we done to save energy and other resources?

Reflective Tile Facade

The Museum is covered in 8 million yellow tiles that reflect the heat of the sun to keep the Museum cool in the summer.


Natural Light

Brooklyn Children’s Museum has lots of large windows to let light in so the Museum doesn’t have to turn on all the lights on a sunny day. But light brings heat, so the windows were designed with tile overhangs to prevent direct sunlight from letting too much heat inside.

Low-Flow Fixtures

The Museum uses low-flow faucets and toilets. Low-flow faucets add air to the water as it flows so you get a steady stream without using so much water. The men’s restrooms actually have waterless urinals; no water is used to flush these!

Carbon Dioxide Sensors

Ventilation systems circulate fresh air inside the Museum. The Museum’s system automatically adjusts to accommodate the number of visitors in each space at any given time. When fewer visitors are in the Museum, the ventilation system will slow down, reducing energy costs.

Occupancy Sensors

When people enter the Museum’s offices, classrooms, and restrooms, motion sensors turn the lights on. When they leave, the lights turn off automatically.  The Museum also uses super efficient, cool-burning low-energy light bulbs.

Daylight Sensors

Daylight sensors regulate the amount of artificial lighting needed at any given time. Photoelectric cells dim indoor lights when there is an abundance of natural light and brighten the electric lighting at night or in cloudy weather.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling System

The Museum features an innovative geothermal system that draws stable-temperature water from Brooklyn′s underground aquifers to a series of air handlers that control the temperature of the building.  The water stays about 57oF year-round, so it’s cooler than the air in summer and warmer than the air in winter. When the water enters the building, it reduces the need for air-conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.

Solar Energy

Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert solar energy into electrical power. The solar energy captured through PV panels reduces the cost of supplying electrical energy to the building.

Renewable and Recyclable Materials

Whenever possible, the Museum uses materials that are renewable or recycled.

  • The stairs and upstairs floorboards are made of bamboo, a resource that’s renewable because of how quickly bamboo grows.
  • The boards in the beach boardwalk aren’t wood; they’re recycled plastic bottles.
  • The collections cases in the Global Beats Exhibit are made from sunflower seed hull
  •  The soil in the Community Garden isn’t real soil – the pieces are cut from recycled corkboards.
  • The bark on the trees in Neighborhood Nature is made from recycled tires.
  • The roof tiles on the Pizza Shop are made from reclaimed wood and recycled vinyl.

Visit to learn more about the Green Threads Project, to identify green locations you can visit throughout New York City, and to find resources to teach sustainability in the classroom and home.