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Open daily Wed–Sun 9am-4pm, PLUS extra hours: Thur til 8pm, Sat 8am-5pm • Closed Mon/Tue • See full schedule

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Certifiably Green: only museum in Wisconsin to earn LEED award

Contact: Jonathan Zarov, 608-335-2783;
Photos of toddler unveiling new LEED plaque
Interviews with key staff available

Madison Children’s Museum receives LEED Award–Gold certification for an existing building

Madison Children’s Museum was recently awarded LEED Gold certification for an existing building. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

As the only museum in Wisconsin to earn LEED certification, this award recognizes the museum’s leadership in promoting sustainable design and practices in the museum field. The museum is also the only children’s museum in the U.S. to receive LEED certification for an existing building.

“The herbs and vegetables that we harvest today on our green roof — or in the Urb Garden, or Log Cabin yard — in a sense, they were planted nearly two decades ago with the vision of museum staff, board members, and other community stakeholders,” said Deb Gilpin, museum executive director. “And four years ago, when the museum moved to this new space, that vision and commitment was made real with this remarkably sustainable building and children’s museum. This great honor and award from LEED reflects the work of so many.”

The museum strives to be a balanced, sustainable organization, from electronic communications and break room composting that goes directly to the rooftop garden, to recycled building materials and “upcycled” art projects in the Art Studio.

The commitment to sustainability has resulted in some wild and wonderful parts of the museum. For instance the chaotically colorful flooring in Possibile-opolis, on the second floor, is made from a recycled Wisconsin school gymnasium floor.

The museum is built and maintained for maximum energy efficiency. For instance, a Daikin unit using air-source pump technology heats the building with as little as 20 percent of the energy required to power a traditional gas-fired system.

A Green Guide is available online (or in limited quantities at the museum) detailing the many built-in features and maintenance practices that were required to earn the award. Free green tours take place at 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. See the building’s green spaces, salvaged materials, and more. Register for a tour one week in advance by calling 608.256.6445.

Given the growing interest in green design and frequent requests for information from other organizations, the museum launched as a resource for others to use when designing and building spaces that support a healthier future for kids and the environment.


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