In addition, the academy's 400,000-square-foot home ranks as the world's largest building to earn that Double Platinum certification.
With a "living roof" of California native plants and a rainforest inside a four-story atrium, the unique building became an instant landmark in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park when it opened Sept. 27, 2008. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the building is home to an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and world-class research and education programs.
When it first opened, the original design earned a Platinum award from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system as new construction. Now its sustainable day-to-day operation has earned the second Platinum award.
"We couldn't be more proud of the academy for its commitment to high levels of environmental performance, and for setting the example as a leader in the San Francisco green building community and around the world," San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said. "Their Double Platinum rating is truly a remarkable achievement for our city."
In its first three years, the academy has hosted more than 5 million visitors, who come to see the unusual building as well as its displays and programs.
"Our LEED Platinum building is a marvelous example of sustainable architecture that has wowed millions of visitors since we opened three years ago," said Dr. Gregory Farrington, the academy's executive director. "However, it is more than just a building. It is also a stage - one that has allowed us to host a wide variety of programs and exhibits about the history and future of life on Earth. Delivering these programs as sustainably as possible helps us inspire our visitors to make sustainable choices in their own lives."
The academy is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Learn more at www.calacademy.org.
PHOTO CREDIT: The San Francisco California Academy of Sciences has over a million plants on their 2.5 acres living roof, Tuesday, December 6, 2008. Michael Allen Jones/Sacramento Bee