President’s Message

The Science of Sustainability

The Orlando Science Center has embarked on a major retrofit of its facility so that we can help lead the community by example in the use of sustainable technologies. Born out of a need for a new HVAC system and a strong commitment to environmental stewardship, our “Green Building” project will consist of four primary elements: a new HVAC system, a lighting upgrade, a full roof replacement, and installation of a 45Kw solar power system.

It is expected that these changes will produce a significant reduction in energy consumption and will serve as the cornerstone for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building certification. We are grateful to the City of Orlando and Orange County who assisted in securing federal stimulus dollars and to the Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs Council, OUC the Reliable One and Darden Environmental Trust for significant grants towards this project. Many thanks also go to our project partners Irvine Mechanical and Azur Solar.

Our new HVAC system will be up and running by this summer, ensuring that the Science Center will once again be the “coolest” place for camps, exhibits, and special programs. It is very important to us that these new enhancements serve an educational, as well as an operational, purpose. We want to inform the public about sustainable technologies by showing their real world applications. “Backstage” tours will be available for guests to discover the science behind keeping our guests comfortable while also learning how our operations are being kinder to Mother Earth in the process.

Soon after the HVAC system is online, the Science Center will begin generating solar power from panels installed on the roof of the Dr. Phillips CineDome, which will help offset our electricity costs. An added benefit to these new installations includes resealing our roof so no more leaks adding “atmosphere” to your experience while visiting DinoDigs.

In the near future, the Science Center’s lighting will also be retrofitted with more energy efficient systems. Displays explaining how this technology works and contributes to our overall sustainability efforts will be placed in key areas, allowing us to use our infrastructure for education. The Science Center is a great place to explain science concepts in a fun way, but we can also be a powerful community forum to promote how we can all use science and technology to make our world better.


JoAnn Newman
President and CEO

 


Energize your world

Power Your own city in Energize, a video game developed by UCF's Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy in partnership with Orlando Science Center.  Energize challenges you to use all of the energy tools at your disposal to makea city run efficiently, safely and economically.

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Check out the articles below for continuing updates about our Green Building Project:

The Orlando Science Center was awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s Central Florida 2012 LEED EBOM Project of the Year!

The Science Center was selected for demonstrating a holistic approach toward project design and execution and development of innovative solutions to unique design challenges posed by the Central Florida region.

osc-wins-ebom-award

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Orlando Science Center Brings Home The Gold!

Orlando Science Center Awarded Prestigious LEED® Green Building Certification

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2012) - The Orlando Science Center announced today that it has been awarded LEED® Gold status. The LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

The Science Center is the first nonprofit in Florida to declare LEED® Gold status and the first LEED® Gold building in the city of Orlando under the Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance standard.

“This designation is a testament to the Science Center’s commitment to environmental sustainability,” said JoAnn Newman, Orlando Science Center President and CEO. “Retrofitting our building and attaining LEED Gold status provides a powerful community forum to promote how we can all use science and technology to make our world better.”

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Try this simple Earth Day craft. This uses simple ingredients and comes out great. This is a great way to start talking to your kids about the importance of sustainability and “Going Green”. Never too early to start recycling!

 

Materials

  • Coffee filter
  • Blue and green washable markers (we used crayola brand)
  • Squirt bottle or small glass of water
  • Black construction paper
  • Glue
  • Optional: white paint, old toothbrush and popsicle stick

Note: You can complete this project using food coloring instead of washable markers. However - I find this option to be very messy so would not do it with young children (if they get food coloring on their clothing you won't be able to get it out). I would only use this option with children over age 10, and even then would want a good amount of supervision and old clothes to be worn.

 

Instructions

  1. Flatten out a coffee filter on a plate.
  2. Scribble the filter with blue and green washable markers.
  3. Use a squirt bottle to spray the coffee filter 2 or 3 times.
  4. Squirt right in the center of the filter and then sit and watch the water wick the colors over the filter (this takes 4 or 5 minutes)
  5. Let dry (this takes about 1/2 an hour, but will take longer if the filter has been soaked by an over-zealous crafter!)
  6. Optional: Splatter paint a piece of black construction paper:
  7. Cover your work area with newspaper
  8. Dip a toothbrush into white paint and tap it off to get rid of the excess.
  9. Hold it over the black paper and lightly rub the edge of the popsicle stick against the toothbrush to splatter dots of white paint onto the paper.
  10. Repeat until your black paper looks like a star filled universe.
  11. Set aside to dry
  12. Glue your earth to a piece of black construction paper (or to a splatter painted piece of black construction paper.

 

Coffee_Filter_4.21.11

 


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The first nationally celebrated Earth Day was held in 1970 and next Saturday, April 23rd, we will continue the tradition of recognizing how humans play an important role in the future of our habitat, the Earth. The Orlando Science Center will be celebrating Earth Day looking at how science can help us to conserve energy and protect our environment.

In honor of Earth Day, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at something very small which has had a big impact on our environment in the last few years: bottled water.

Bottled water can cost anywhere from 1 to 6 cents per ounce, but tap water costs about 5 cents per gallon.  Interestingly enough, many bottling companies get their water from the same place we central Floridians do, the Florida Aquifer. So, what’s the difference between the tap water and bottled water? A bottle.

Some non-Florida natives, like me, will say there is quite a difference and it comes in the form of smell. Florida’s aquifers naturally filter the water so that it is amazingly clean even before it is pumped out. But there are sulfurous mineral deposits which give natural springs a distinctive smell. However OUC, the company which provides water to most of Orlando, has a process specifically designed to remove this sulfur smell by using ozone. Even if there is a little smell left over, it can be easily taken care of with a faucet-attached water filter. This makes it very easy to grab a reusable water bottle and fill it before leaving the house.

So, that leaves us with a plastic bottle. Plastic will takes hundreds of years to biodegrade but can be recycled.  However, even Zephyrhills notes on its packaging that less than 25% of water bottles get recycled. To do our part, the Science Center provides green colored bins outside of each elevator just for recycling.

This Saturday, come celebrate Earth Day with us and learn more about how to reduce, reuse and recycle. And if you’re interested in learning more about bottled water in Florida, check out the original article in the Orlando Sentinel titled “Water Everywhere: Which is for You?” by Kevin Spear.

 

Stephanie is a Science Interpreter at the Science Center and often is found in Dino Digs or Careers for Life. Paleontology, Anthropology and Anatomy are her passion and jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!


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Orlando Science Center • 777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
  Supported by the City of Orlando, Orange County, and United Arts of Central Florida with funds from the United Arts campaign and the State of Florida,
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