Conservation Efforts at the Fleet
Updated: April 22, 2010
Awards and HonorsThe City of San Diego recently honored the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center as a “Recycler of the Year,” for the third consecutive year (2008, 2009 and 2010), in their Waste Reduction and Recycling Awards Program. The Center for Sustainable Energy named the Fleet Science Center as Runner Up for the Special Achievement by a Non-Profit Award at the 2007 San Diego Excellence in Energy (SANDEE) Awards. The award honors organizations that show leadership in saving energy and contributing to the creation of a sustainable energy future for the San Diego region.
Conserving EnergyIn early 2007, the Fleet partnered with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and the City of San Diego to install a 10,000 sq. ft. solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the Science Center’s rooftop. The PV array generates up to 100 kW of green electricity for San Diego’s power grid. The rooftop PV array also serves as the centerpiece for a permanent hands-on exhibition called “So WATT! An Illuminating Look at Energy.” Sponsored by SDG&E and Shell Trading, the exhibition lets visitors explore how solar panels work while comparing renewable vs. non-renewable energy sources. The Fleet consumes less energy today, on an annual basis, than before our 1998 expansion, which more than doubled the floor space of the Science Center. Use of Energy Star® rated equipment throughout the building. Except for some specialty bulbs, all lighting throughout the Fleet utilizes fluorescent, compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. These lights provide the same amount of illumination, last longer and use at least 60% less energy than traditional lights. Newer fluorescent tubes are smaller and contain smaller amounts of hazardous materials like mercury. Lights throughout the building are controlled with an automated system and motion sensors, which ensure that lights remain on only when needed. Windows on the south side of the building are double-paned and tinted to help maintain a comfortable temperature inside and reduce air-conditioning needs. The Fleet converted our central chiller plant, part of the air conditioning system, from natural gas to electricity – improving its efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This resulted in a 70% reduction in our natural gas usage and only a minimal increase in our electricity usage. This also eliminated the need to use lubricating oil and enabled us to switch to the “green-certified” HFC 134A refrigerant. FACT SHEET: Conservation Efforts at the Fleet The heating and air conditioning system throughout the Fleet is controlled automatically through an automated system that uses automatic timers and sensors. The air distribution system in the Heikoff Dome Theater features an advanced CO2 (carbon dioxide) sensor that determines whether – and how many – people are inside the theater. As more people enter the theater, the system automatically increases air flow to compensate, providing fresh air and maintaining the theater at a comfortable temperature. When the theater is empty, the system puts itself into an idle state.
Conserving WaterAll toilets throughout the building are low-flow (1.5 gpf). All 10 urinals in the building are now waterless, saving 450,000 gallons of water per year. Use of automated water faucets to reduce water consumption throughout the building.
Green Materials & RecyclingCurrently, 33% of total waste generated at the Fleet is recycled. We recycle 2-3 dumpsters full of paper, cardboard, plastics, cans and bottles each week. We are now working to achieve a 40% recycle rate. 100% of used batteries, light bulbs and electronic equipment are recycled. We use recycled paper products whenever possible (i.e. copy paper, visitor brochures, tissues, napkins, etc.) All of our custodial and cleaning chemicals are “green” certified. We use non-hazardous materials throughout the building wherever possible.