New HVAC system is the first step toward building becoming LEED certified

Orlando Science Center will use operations to educate public on sustainable technology

Orlando, FL - May 6, 2010 - The Orlando Science Center has embarked on a major retrofit of its facility to increase its energy efficiency, decrease operational costs and help serve as a community leader in the use of sustainable technologies. Born out of a need for a new HVAC system and a strong commitment to environmental stewardship, the Science Center will be participating in a number of sustainability efforts in the months and years ahead.   

The first step in this process was the recent installation of a new energy-efficient HVAC system, which is already providing cooler temperatures within the Orlando Science Center. Many partners contributed to the success of this effort, including Irvine Mechanical that helped select and install the new system, the City of Orlando and Orange County who assisted in securing federal stimulus dollars, and the Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs Council, OUC - the Reliable One and Darden Environmental Trust for providing significant grants.

The new system has a high efficiency chiller plant on site, which uses chilled water throughout for cooling. This advanced variable flow system uses the latest technologies to provide superior reliability with the highest energy efficiencies, including the ability to instantly adjust to changing indoor environmental conditions.  “Backstage” tours of the chiller plant will soon be available for guests to discover the science behind keeping them comfortable while also being eco-friendly.

“It is very important to us that these new enhancements serve an educational, as well as an operational, purpose,” said JoAnn Newman, President and CEO of the Orlando Science Center. “We want to inform the public about sustainable technologies by showing their real world applications.”

The Science Center plans to use their facility as a showcase for sustainable technologies, including energy efficient lighting, high efficiency cooling, smart building controls and solar technology. Educational experiences are being developed to engage the public in learning the science behind sustainability and its positive impact on the operations of the Science Center and the environment in general.

Another added benefit to the new HVAC installation was a complete roof replacement, which permanently repaired leaks caused by the previous system. In the near future, the Science Center will also add film treatments to all the building’s glass windows. This window film will increase energy efficiency by blocking heat and radiation from the sun. There is also a plan to retrofit the building’s lighting with more energy efficient systems.

The Science Center is pursuing U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for its facility. LEED is a certification program and nationally accepted benchmark for the operation of high performance eco-friendly buildings. It is expected that these enhancements will serve as the cornerstone for this certification due to the estimated reduction in energy consumption. Once it is secured, the Science Center will be one of only dozens of Central Florida buildings with this designation.

“The Science Center is a great place to engage people in hands-on exploration of science,” said Newman, “but we can also be a strong community forum for how we can all use science and technology to make our world better.”


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  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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