Benchmarks for a Greener Exhibit

Benchmarks for a Greener Exhibit

Benchmarking: “A reference point score or standard of excellence against which similar or subsequent scores are compared.” (Barker, 2003, p. 41).

For those not familiar with the acronym,LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000,LEED is an architectural framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Until late this only applied to buildings, but recently has been extended to LEED for Retail, which is a good start to an application for measuring the sustainability of exhibits and displays, but does not take into account transportation methods.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, which has been working on a set of LEED based standards to measure their exhibits, has created and recently released a streamlined version for exhibit design called “ A Green Exhibit Checklist”. It awards points for 5 key strategies for reducing the environmental impact of exhibit production:

• Reduce new material consumption
• Use local resources
• Reduce waste
• Reduce energy consumption
• Reduce products with toxic emissions
• A sixth category awards points for innovation in the design and construction of the exhibit. This encourages exhibit teams to strive for new and creative solutions to reduce environmental impacts.

The five Categories can receive up to 4 points each for 90% compliance and then tallied up when complete. Ratings are awarded for the total score as follows:

Platinum: 20-24 points
Gold: 15-19
Silver: 11-14
Bronze: 8-10

The checklist is relatively quick and direct benchmark to gauge where exhibit designs fall within the sustainability spectrum.
You can download the Checklist here.
Happily, many of the materials and lighting used in our ecosystems line of components fall within the guidelines to qualify for the bronze category. The challenge going forward will be to improve these metrics towards higher standards thru innovative materials, re-use and energy saving practices. To find out more about the materials and practices we encourage download our white paper Moving Towards Sustainability

Barker, R.L. (2003). The social work dictionary (5th ed.).
Washington, DC: NASW Press.

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