Green Buildings Case Studies

Discovery Center Museum

711 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103

815.963.6769 (p)

Contact: Bruce Quast, Exhibits Director, 815-972-2833

Architect: Rockford Associates
Building Size: Demolishing 7,500 sq. ft and replacing with 22,000 sq. ft.
Project Budget: Unknown
Opening Date: TBD
(still in the fundraising and planning phase)
LEED certification: Considering Silver

About Discovery's Center Museum's Sustainable Expansion Project:
The existing Discovery Center Museum (DCM) is housed in a former Sears Department Store along with several other cultural organizations. The building is owned by the Rockford Park District. The other organizations were invited to take part in the expansion, but so far only the museum is moving forward. As part of the expansion, a 5,000-square-foot event space is being demolished and replaced with 22,000 square feet of exhibit, classroom, office, event and public space.

Discovery Museum

The Museum's Decision to Go Green:
The museum had been thinking green long before expansion was considered, so attempting to be green in the new building is a natural fit. Several years ago DCM received a grant to replace all of the lighting fixtures in the building with low wattage fluorescent tubes and all of the incandescent bulbs were replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs. The museum also has been involved with the NEED project (National Energy Education Development Project) and several of its educators have served as NEED trainers.

Project's Green Options Under Consideration:

  • Optimal building/site orientation and building and space planning.
  • Solar wall, glazing systems and shading devices.
  • Geothermal exchange systems. (This system may be shared with a neighboring museum.)
  • Lighting design including natural lighting and lighting controls.
  • Wind turbines.
  • Photovoltaic panels

Piece of advice for others regarding project:

A major rationale for going green is to reduce consumption of energy resources to save money. However, DCM may not realize the cost savings because it does not own the building. Board and staff continue to wrestle with this fact. Also, because the museum is a tenant, all plans must be approved by the Park District and sometimes by the other building tenants. This alone makes the whole process a bit more difficult and at times more costly and time consuming. DCM received a planning grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, which provided funds to allow the museum to study options that provide the most benefit as well as to assist in determining how to approach LEED certification.