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The Green Museum

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Green architecture, energy efficiency, and environmental education --


Brooklyn Children’s Museum is slated to be New York City’s first green museum, as certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Museum integrates many of the latest environmentally responsible building materials, systems, and management practices. Wherever possible, the architectural design specified green materials—those made from renewable sources or with high levels of recycled content. In keeping with the Museum’s commitment to education, programs and exhibitions will teach visitors about energy efficiency and environmental conservation.

Daily Museum operations for cleaning and trash handling are converting to green and even the Museum’s daily food service, catering, and birthday-party events will feature green tableware, recycled content paper products, and biodegradable cups and plates.

About Green Threads

Brooklyn Children’s Museum is New York City’s first green museum, as certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council. The Green Threads initiative uses the Museum’s LEED-certified building as a platform to teach about sustainable choices. Green Threads increases awareness of what it means to “think green” and helps build skills people will use to reshape their communities and the world.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Mission

The mission of Brooklyn Children’s Museum is to actively engage children in educational and entertaining experiences through innovation and excellence in exhibitions, programs and use of its collection. The Museum encourages children to develop an understanding of and respect for themselves, others and the world around them by exploring cultures, the arts, science and the environment.

Click here to visit the Green Threads website

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.


In most green buildings, high-performance features are invisible to the occupants. But most green buildings aren’t dedicated to teaching. From public programs to school field trips, the Museum provides children with unique hands-on opportunities to appreciate the plants and animals all around us in Brooklyn and explore the features that make BCM yellow on the outside, but “green” through and through.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum will even be hosting a series of workshops for educators on how to incorporate environmental education into the classroom – for education professionals who work with kids pre-K to 6th grade. For more information on these FREE workshops, download our Environmental Education Workshop flier.

Interested in teaching about environmentalism and sustainability in your  early children and/or elementary classroom?  Visit our blog, Teach Green in Brooklyn, for classroom ideas and resources!



Geothermal Heating and Cooling System

The new Museum features an innovative geothermal system that draws stable-temperature water from Brooklyn′s underground aquifers to a series of heat pump air handlers that control the temperature of the building.  This system offers significant improvements in energy efficiency over traditional boiler systems and eliminates noisy rooftop chillers and the need for treating waste water.

Solar Energy

Photovoltaic (PV) systems integrated into the building design convert solar energy into electrical power. The solar energy captured through PV panels will offset electrical requirements and provide a dramatic visual demonstration of alternative energy systems for families and school children.

Energy-Saving Sensors

State-of-the-art sensors control the performance of the heating and lighting systems, ensuring the comfort and safety of the Museum’s visitors and reducing energy use at the same time.

Carbon Dioxide Sensors

The museum’s ventilation system automatically adjusts to accommodate the number of visitors in each space at any given time, using sophisticated carbon dioxide sensors and computerized controls. Because air exhaled by human beings contains carbon dioxide (CO2), the level of CO2 in a room rises when more people are present. When this happens, the sensors signal the ventilation system to circulate more air containing oxygen through the space. Conversely, when fewer visitors are in the Museum, the ventilation system will slow down, further reducing energy costs.

Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors that detect the presence of body heat or motion will control the lights in offices, classrooms and restrooms. No people, no lights.  In addition, the general lighting in the Museum 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.

Renewable and Recyclable Materials

Sustainability is a primary consideration in the choice of finish materials and surface treatments. Special attention is being paid to materials with high levels of renewable or recycled content, including bamboo, cork, rubber and linoleum flooring and carpet.


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provided approximately $250,000 towards the cost of the photovoltaic panels and energy analysis.  The New York Power Authority is providing $500,000 of financing for the geothermal mechanical system and other high-performance features. The Museum estimates a savings to the City of New York—which owns the building in which the Museum is housed—of about $100,000 per year in energy costs. 



The City of New York and New York State provided $49 million for the expansion and renovation of the building, including support from the Mayor of the City of New York, the New York City Council and its Brooklyn Delegation, the Brooklyn Borough President, and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York State Assembly.



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