Green Buildings Case Studies

Town of Normal Children’s Discovery Museum

101 E. Beaufort
Normal, IL 61761

309.433.3444 (p)

Contact: Brad Stefl, Exhibits Manger, 309-433-3461,

Architect: Russel Francois, Francois and Associates
Building Size: 34,000 sq. ft.
Project Budget: Approximately $5 M
Opening Date: November 27, 2004
LEED Certification: Silver Rating
About LEED Certification:

About Normal's Sustainable Expansion and Renovation Project:
The Town of Normal Children's Discovery Museum was designed and constructed using green building concepts, and was the first children's museum in the country to be LEED certified. The 34,000 sq. ft. project was part of a larger downtown redevelopment, where sustainability was thoroughly embraced.

Town of Normal Children's Discovery Museum

The Museum's Decision To Go Green:
The Town of Normal is committed to maintaining a high quality of life and a healthy environment for all of its residents. As plans for the downtown revitalization project were discussed, the town took a leadership role in utilizing sustainable building concepts. Town leaders believe that using energy efficient, environmentally friendly sustainable design is simply the right approach for constructing public facilities. This leadership role was exemplified in the construction of the new Children's Discovery Museum, now part of Normal's department of Parks and Recreation, as the flagship development for the downtown project.

Project's Distinguishing Green Features:

  • Utilized 31.64% recycled content in building materials.
  • Efficient HVAC system.
  • Energy Star Roof.
  • Diverted 87% of the construction waste from the landfill through recycling and reusing.
  • Used 86% locally manufactured materials, eliminating energy usage for long haul transportation
  • Various design concepts to promote public/non-auto transportation—location adjacent to rail and bus system, bike racks and staff shower for staff biking to work.
  • Healthy indoor environment—operable windows, low-e glass, low VOC paints and glues.
  • Motion-triggered lighting in all non-public areas of our museum
  • 8.5 kW solar array

Advice for others regarding green projects:

Pursuing LEED certification is not an easy road. It requires exceptional coordination and cooperation of the entire construction team. It is imperative to have "buy-in" from the contractor at submittal of the bid. The LEED certification process itself is somewhat cumbersome, and USGBC is extremely busy. Every project has unique aspects, so USGBC's future challenge will be to promote standards that acknowledge exceptions and recognize that there are alternatives to reaching the same end result.