Utah Natural History Museum Gets Greener

The new home of the Natural History Museum of Utah is getting a little closer to nature via an energy efficient retrofit expected to save at least $22,000 a year in operating costs.

The $300,000  green retrofit of the Rio Tinto Center comes via a partnership between The Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah and Rocky Mountain Power.  It will include a laundry list of energy efficiency measures, a renewable energy system, and a public education component in the form of an “energy trail” running throughout a series of new exhibitions designed to tell the complete story of energy.

Rio Tinto Center

image via The Natural History Museum of Utah

The retrofit is being made possible, in part, by $125,000 from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Renewable Energy program, which will  fund a 52.4-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system slated for installation on the Museum’s roof later this year. This will be the first step toward manifesting the Museum’s vision of a solar array stretching across the entire roof of the Center, in partnership with the University and the State of Utah.

The Blue Sky renewable energy program supports commercial renewable energy projects in western states as well as local community-based projects; this is the second Blue Sky project at the University of Utah.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.