by Victoria Laney (May 4, 2017)
Museum of the Bible is dedicated to the history, narrative and impact of the Bible. The 430,000 square-foot non-profit museum is scheduled to open in November 2017, just three blocks from the Capitol in Washington D.C.
A 15 X 140 foot screen runs the expanse of the lobby ceiling. It rotates through images of biblical landscapes, stained glass windows, stars, planets and other heavenly bodies. To save energy, the lighting on the screen and throughout the museum is LED.
A smaller replica of the screen was available for viewing at a museum preview during the National Religious Broadcaster Convention in Orlando. Some guests were visibly awed by the sight of the rotating images.
Guests navigated through the museum using a digital guide. It allows any many as 10,000 guests within close proximity to have a customized tour. Users can input how much time they have to tour, their level of Bible knowledge, subjects of special interest and more. The digital guide curates a personalized tour based on those preferences.
The customized tours were presented on energy-saving Lenovo Phab 2 Pro tablet devices with expanded memory, extra battery life, wireless charging capability and a dedicated circuit board.
Guests took the adult tour during the museum preview at the NRB Convention, but there will be three different options available when the museum opens. In addition to adult tours, there will be one for ages 9-12 years, and 8 years and younger. The children’s tours will be created based on the tour the adult has created, ensuring families stay together through the tour.
For ages 8 and under, the tour will feature a character-driven adventure that invites players to use clues in each exhibit to solve a mystery. Teen visitors will partner with different characters modeled after each exhibit in order to drive imaginary fog out of the museum.
There are also virtual reality and augmented reality stations. Virtual reality allows visitors to take a flight through history, exploring different methodologies used to teach the Bible. Augmented reality allows visitors to scan a Biblical artifact, then rotate, zoom in and interact with the object on the screen.
“The technology needed for the digital tour guide just simply did not exist to the level that was necessary, so we decided to build it ourselves, said Jeff Schneider, Vice President of Information and Interactive Systems at Museum of the Bible. “To our knowledge, this will e the first time ever that people will have the opportunity to interact with real-time, indoor navigation in a museum environment… The Bible has always been at the forefront of innovation, and we are putting a 21st century version of that legacy on full display.”
During the NRB preview, the tablets worked well. There were many opportunities to put the devices aside and enjoy hands-on activities. For example, children cast down nets and gathered fish into a boat.
The museum repurposes a historic structure, the Terminal Warehousing and Refrigeration Company. It is designated as a historic landmark by D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board.
Crews demolished the interior of the structure, allowing them to install the latest in energy saving cooling, heating lighting and other systems. Construction, demolition and property costs topped 500 million dollars.
The second, third and fourth floors of the museum will be dedicated to galleries. The second floor will show the impact of the Bible. The third will show Bible history, and the fourth will show the narrative. The fifth floor includes a performing arts hall. The sixth floor of the structure includes a roof-top garden that will recycle water and moderate the temperature of the building. It will feature a collection of plants named in the Bible.
The manuscripts and other historical artifacts are named the Green collection, after Steve Green, Chairman of the Museum of the Bible Board of Directors. He is the owner of one of the world’s biggest collections of biblical relics and manuscripts, some 44,000 items that can be displayed in the museum. The museum has also formed a long-term partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority to fill gallery space.
Mr. Green is also President of Hobby Lobby, the multi-billion dollar craft store chain founded by his father. He established Museum of the Bible as a non-profit in 2010, and has been working to make his dream a reality for the past seven years.
The architect is Smith Group JJR, Washington. The firm’s portfolio includes the International Spy Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Their website discusses the Museum:
Developing a design for the new Museum of the Bible came with several intriguing challenges. The client wished to create a singular, memorable visitor experience focusing on the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible, supported by a private collection of more than 40,000 biblical antiquities, rare texts, and other artifacts. For its site, the museum founders selected an imposing refrigerated warehouse large enough to receive train cars. As a newly designated 1923 landmark within blocks of the National Mall, renovations to the “flat-iron” building were subject to intense scrutiny from multiple review boards.
The building remains an important element in the new design; along with a new vertical infill addition and a rooftop addition, the design creates a compelling setting befitting the museum’s collection. The train portal is reopened to serve as the museum’s colossally scaled entrance. It is punctuated by a stained glass window displaying a portion of the Great Isaiah Scroll, framed by bronze panels recalling the cold-press type of the Gutenberg Bible. The internal train loading bay is recast as a main lobby arcade, with monumental Jerusalem stone columns and LED displays dominating the 40-foot-high, 150-foot-long ceiling. Atop the building, a scroll of glazing clads a two-story addition housing a theater and ballroom, offering panoramic views of the U.S. Capitol and National Mall, while a 30,000 sf rooftop addition over the Washington Office Center provides a new home for the Green Family Scholars Initiative.
A digital fly-through and a 360 degree hard hat tour are available on youtube.com/museumofBible
A Net Zero Energy Home in Urbana, Illinois
Thanks to the more efficient heating system now in place, the Equinox House will produce surplus electricity in 2012 and in the future. That’s by design. The surplus will be used to power their all-electric Ford Focus for the 8,000 miles of in-town driving they do annually.
In conjunction with its solar panels, the Equinox House achieves net-zero energy use because it requires far less energy than even a well-built conventional home—about one-fifth as much. It does so through the use of design and technology that did not add a significant burden to the cost of construction.
The walls and roof of the Equinox House are constructed with twelve-inch thick structural insulated panels, which are four to five times more effective at preventing thermal transfer than the walls of a typical house. Great care has also been taken to minimize any leakage of air through envelope of the house.
The Equinox House uses high performance, triple-pane windows, which also help to prevent thermal transfer. Beyond that, the windows are oriented to allow direct sunlight into living space for the heat it provides during the cooler half of the year—beginning on the Fall equinox—and to exclude direct sunlight during the warmer half of the year—beginning on the Spring equinox—when it would increase the load on the cooling system.
Of course the Equinox House will be outfitted in other ways that emphasize conservation, including LED lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, etc. It even features a system for collecting rainwater that is designed to meet 80 percent of the annual water needs for a family of four.
When he talks about the Equinox House, Ty Newell emphasizes how well it works from an economic perspective, since the couple’s average daily cost for energy is a mere $3.00. That’s based on a twenty-year life for the solar array, which cost a net of $20,000 installed.
Case Study: A Net-Zero Energy House: Moore home, Evergreen, CO.
The Moore House Achieves Net-zero Energy Usage by:
Passive solar design:
Used proper building orientation, thermal mass and windows to allow the sun to heat and cool the house cleanly and for free. Clearstory windows allow natural convection to exhaust hot summer air high and bring in natural sunlight to the living and dining rooms.
- Walls of 7” spray foam insulation plus 1” rigid for thermal break, R-30; air changes of 0.07 NACH; quadruple glazed windows.
Solar thermal panels:
- 180 evacuated tubes feed a 2000 gallon tank (reclaimed stainless steel milk tank) to supply both hot water and supplemental heat for the home by use of a water-to-air heat exchanger and radiant floors.
10kW photovoltaic (PV) system:
- Generates more carbon-free electricity (14,400 kWh per year) than the house requires. Instead of using batteries, this grid-tied PV system will spin the electric meter backwards.
- Air will be pre-heated in the winter and pre-cooled in the summer as it is routed through 300 feet of duct in the earth.
Energy-recovery ventilator (ERV):
- Will save most of the heat from exhausted air in the winter.
Type + size of renewable energy system used:
The project has a 2,600 square feet roof membrane integrated PV system which combines a single ply PVC, fire rated, white, waterproof roofing membrane with high efficiency SunPower A-300 monocrystaline solar cells. These cells have one of the highest efficiencies (20% to 21.5%) of any mass produced solar cell. The product is lightweight (2.5 pounds per ft2) and does not require special support structure, ballast, or structural penetrations. This system allows savings by eliminating the need for a support structure and because it is used both a PV panel and roof membrane. A second BIPV system using
PV in a laminated glass entry canopy also was installed over the main entrance at the south side of the building.
Image credit: © 2007 Integrated Design Associates
Designed: 56,000 kWh/yr
Actual Energy Use intensity: 21.17 kBtu/sf (2009)
Annual electricity generated: 21.73 kBtu/sf
Net Energy Use: – 0.55 kBtu/sf
We spend so much time talking about the benefits of Green building , going Net Zero, and the need to increase use of renewable energy technology. But, too often it’s just . . . talk! However, once in a long while something of real significance breaks through the “talk” and walks the “walk”. I refer to the Lady Bird Johnson Middle School in Irving, Texas. Click on the video below for a brief orientation to this Net Zero building:
It was an amazing experience to walk the grounds of the Lady Bird Johnson Middle School and see the 12 visually impressive wind generators that provide about 1% of the builidng’s energy needs. Click on the video below to see more Net Zero features:
The following systems and features were incorporated into the Lady Bird Johnson Middle School Net Zero facility:
- 12 wind generators that contribute about 1% of the total energy needs.
- 105 geothermal heat pumps that reduce HVAC energy use by 30%.
- 2,988 Solyndra solar panels delivering over 582 kilowatts of energy, located on a white roof.
- Insulated wall panels
- Xeriscape landscaping conserving water
- Sun shades
- Light shelves
- A large canopy was constructed on two sides of the building to help shade windows from the hot Texas sun.
This buildling represents an inspired combination of passive design principles with leading edge renewable technology systems. We don’t need to wait any longer for the “magic bullet” to pursue a Net Zero solution. If the above information is not enough to convince you, perhaps this will . . . . the typical middle school in Irving, Texas pays over $250,000 annually for utility costs. Lady Bird Johnson Middle School will only pay $65,000 annually. Do the math. Net Zero is here!
For further information regarding Lady Bird Johnson Middle School, please refer to the following links: