Carnegie Museum of Natural History

For more information, contact: Leigh Kish
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
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April 22, 2010


Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Dinosaurs in Their Time Receives Silver LEED Certification; Raises Institute-wide Building Standards

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania… Carnegie Museum of Natural History, long a center for scientific research focusing on the sustainability of life on Earth, has been awarded a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification for Dinosaurs in Their Time in the category of new construction or major renovations. LEED certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Dinosaurs in Their Time is a permanent dinosaur exhibition that displays dinosaur fossils in dynamic, scientifically accurate poses and in realistic Mesozoic environments that include highly realistic replicas of plants and other animals that lived alongside the dinosaurs. It is also the first Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh project to receive LEED certification, and was planned when the LEED certification program was still in its infancy. According to USGBC, an organization’s participation in the voluntary and technically rigorous LEED process demonstrates leadership, innovation, and environmental stewardship. The Dinosaurs certification is recognized with a plaque permanently installed in the exhibition hall.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on nonsustainable and expensive sources of energy, and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The work of innovative building projects such as Dinosaurs in Their Time is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”

“We are thrilled to have received the LEED silver certification because it exemplifies a significant institutional commitment to energy efficiency, sustainable materials, and ‘green engineering’ in Dinosaurs in Their Time,” said Director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History Samuel Taylor, PhD. “The LEED Silver rating demonstrates the museum's involvement in conservation science, and in promoting sustainability and stewardship.”

The LEED certification process offers a framework for project teams to develop and implement green strategies in their building projects and to achieve certification for adherence to internationally recognized principles. To obtain certification, a building—either commercial or residential—is awarded up to 100 possible points for meeting rigorous criteria across a number of areas. LEED certification begins at a minimum of 40 points. Silver certification is awarded at 50 points, Gold at 60 points, and Platinum to projects scoring more than 80 points. Certification often takes many months, following application and a critical appraisal process.

Dinosaurs in Their Time was completed in June 2008. Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Project Manager Carol Downey Fuller, AIA, managed construction for Dinosaurs in Their Time. Fuller has recently been certified as a LEED Accredited Professional, indicating the priority with which Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh will pursue LEED certification on future projects. According to Fuller, green building highlights of the Dinosaurs in Their Time project include:

  • Enhanced Commissioning—This is the process of ensuring that systems are designed, installed, functionally tested, and capable of being operated and maintained to perform in conformity with the owner's project requirements.
  • Building Reuse—Dinosaurs reused at least 75% of the existing building shell.
  • Construction Waste—The project diverted at least 75% of construction waste from landfill to a recycling process.

Dinosaurs in Their Time construction reused exterior walls by closing in a service courtyard, retaining the building’s exterior shell and offering efficient heating and cooling. Nearly all of the demolition and construction waste from the project was recycled. Simple technologies such as skylights and a white roof were installed in the space, to conserve energy and to make the best use of natural resources. The heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems were tested and contain no CFC (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCS (hydro chlorofluorocarbons), or halons, a group of compounds which contain ozone depleting bromine.

In addition to sustainable construction, LEED certification requires some educational component. Visitors to Dinosaurs in Their Time can learn about the sustainable technologies incorporated into the hall by visiting the kiosk at the entrance to the Cretaceous Seaway, or by visiting the Web site at

Dedicated architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors worked together to fulfill the requirements set forth by USGBC for certified buildings. The architects for Dinosaurs were E. Verner Johnson and Associates, working with architects and engineers from Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates, Atlantic Engineering Services, and H.F. Lenz Company, along with Jendoco Construction Corporation.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History has taken a leadership role within Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, bringing awareness of sustainability in construction to the forefront. Thanks to this effort, LEED certification is now the standard for major building projects institute-wide. Green and sustainable technologies have been utilized in two subsequent major projects: the renovation of the Florence Lockhart Nimick Education Center at Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s environmental research center Powdermill Nature Reserve, and SportsWorks at Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh plans to submit both of these projects for LEED certification.


Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of 22 million objects and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures. More information is available by calling 412.622.3131 or by visiting the website,