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Recommendations (Sustainability Impact Assessment)

The recommendations take a holistic view to mitigate the challenges associated with the Da Vinci Science City and explore opportunities. Each recommendation indicates which of the five impact areas (climate, community, local economy, health, and environment). All recommendations are directed to the Da Vinci Science Center unless otherwise stated.

To operationalize these recommendations, the City should require sustainability assessments for all future projects, and include ordinance requirements to formalize sustainability in development project planning. The ordinance requirement language can be found in the attachments to the full report, and they reflect the goals and recommendations of this DVSC project.

Building Systems

The design and operation of the building require significant resource consumption and impacts global warming and climate change, the local environment, natural resources, and community welfare and climate.

The most effective way for DVSC to minimize its climate impacts is to (1) reduce energy usage as much as possible, (2) source energy from renewable sources, and (3) purchase offsets for any emissions that cannot be avoided.

Recommendations to reduce consumption, include a graywater system to reduce demand, as well as on-site wastewater treatment, rainwater collection and stormwater management. For solid waste, recommendations include reducing amounts consumed, reuse and composting. and recycling all recyclable materials. Building scale should be consistent with and complement existing aesthetic, green space should be preserved and expanded where possible, and air quality should be maintained to the highest degree both indoors and outdoors.

Transportation

Since vehicles are a major source of emissions and a large source of greenhouse gas emissions, this assessment recommends encouraging alternative modes of transportation, including walking, biking, public transit and carpooling. Shuttles and Da Vinci vehicles should be electric vehicles charged with renewable energy. The City should pursue a Complete Streets program, alleyway revitalization, and way finding system. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure should be considered for all city parking facilities as well.

Food

Food services have the potential to be highly educational, but also have many potentially-adverse impacts on the climate, environment, and community. DVSC should serve local, organic, sustainably-grown food, with a variety of healthy choices. Food service facilities should commit to  sustainability and utilize reusable products to the maximum extent possible, eliminating single-use plastics, non-recyclable materials, and wasteful practices. For the welfare and education of visitors, nutritional information and carbon footprint data should be made available for all food served. Culturally diverse and dietarily accommodating options should be ensured as well, and relationships with local restaurants for local economic promotion should be explored.

Educational Programs & Operations

As a facility dedicated to science education and outreach, there is great potential for programs that will have positive impacts. The facility itself should serve as a ‘Living Laboratory’ to raise awareness about global warming and climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation, including use of a ‘dashboard’ display. Furthermore, the DVSC should strive to be present in local schools and institutions to encourage children to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) fields of study. Exhibits throughout the facility should integrate the ideas of physical and mental wellbeing, sustainable food production, environmental protection, proper recycling, and relevant local community topics. Accessibility and health resources should be considered in all programming, with visitors exposed to opportunities for outdoor activity and education. All services and facilities related to the DVSC should be accessible to all, fully accommodating disabilities of visual, hearing, mobility, or any other impairment. Flexible spaces within the facility should be inclusive of community institutions for extended programs, with opportunities for low-income residents prioritized, as well as environmental justice issues and gentrification analyzed and addressed. Hiring should be locally directed, diverse, and guarantee a living wage to all. Retail space in the DVSC should include products from local craftworkers and artists, and other materials sold should be extensively researched to ensure sustainable supply chains.

Construction

Beginning with the planning and initial conception of the project, the concept of sustainability should be central to all aspects of the construction process. Contractor bidding should include agreement and adherence to sustainability as a best-practice, exploring innovative ways to reduce construction waste, energy consumption during building and local pollution sources. Disturbances to local traffic and parking patterns should be ameliorated to preserve walkability, street access and safety beyond code requirements. Any contamination of noise, air, light or water should be mitigated if not prevented entirely. Transparency and citizens engagement should be pillars in the development of the project in all phases, and community concerns should be taken seriously as avenues for improvement. Hazardous materials, as outlined by the Living Building Challenge’s Diversion of Waste Materials, should be avoided in favor of environmentally preferable materials, and embodied carbon of material supply chains should be critically examined and reduced.


Return to the Sustainability Impact Assessment report

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