Washington, D.C. — Scheduled to open on September 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture represents much more than a cultural and architectural landmark. It is also set to be a representation of best practices in sustainable building design.

The building is expected to perform 30.5 percent better than the average code-compliant ASHRAE 90.1-2004 building, with a proposed energy use intensity (EUI) of 92.0 kBtu/SF. The project will be the first within the Smithsonian Institution to achieve this level of sustainability, generate electricity, and use of chilled beams.

Helping the museum reach this level of sustainability are a number of innovative design features, including:

  • 384-panel photovoltaic array capable of producing 102,562 kWH of electricity annually;
  • occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting;
  • chilled beam units for office areas;
  • demand-controlled ventilation; and
  • rainwater and groundwater storage and reuse system.

Paul Corrado, Senior Vice President, was WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s principal-in-charge on the project, working with architects Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroupJJR. As principal-in-charge, Corrado was responsible for overall design direction and project management related to mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering; building technology; and sustainable engineering. An established veteran of museum projects, Corrado has also lent his expertise to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts east wing expansion; the New England Aquarium’s east wing expansion and renovation; the Peabody Essex Museum; and the UMASS Edward M Kennedy Institute of the United States Senate.

Robert Goossens, Senior Vice President, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, led commissioning efforts for the project. Goossens placed great emphasis on design review prior to bid package and contractor/vendor selection. The commissioning team worked to reduce change orders during the construction phases, thereby reducing costs and helping to keep the project on schedule.