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Water + Life Museum is first Leed-Platinum Rated Museum

The Western Center, as part of the Water + Life Museums complex near the entrance to Diamond Valley Lake, in Hemet, California has been designed as the first LEED®-Platinum rated museum.

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The Western Center, as part of the Water + Life Museums complex near the entrance to Diamond Valley Lake, in Hemet, California has been designed as the first LEED®-Platinum rated museum. This life studies museum provides the link between Southern California’s water infrastructure and the evolution of life in a green facility in the California desert. The $40 million campus runs 72,000 square feet and was constructed by LA based Michael Lehrer Architects.

The educational museums are designed as living examples of environmental sustainability. The facility contains museum exhibit space, laboratories, classrooms, administrative offices, support facilities, gift shops, café, interior plaza and interpretive landscaping.

The museum’s construction was motivated by the creation of the Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir in 1999. Considered the largest earthworks project on US soil, the massive dig produced an incredible array of fossils and artifacts. The Center for Water Education and Western Center Communication Foundation decided to create a museum fitting in form and function to display the finds.

LEED-Platinum Museum Award Winning Features

The jurors of the 2008 Savings By Design Energy Efficiency Integration Award provided this museum with an Award of Honor to recognize its achievement as one of the most integrated projects in the competition, with its superior shading and radiant flooring heating, all of which complement the museum’s architecture.

Green building features include:

  • Taking into consideration extreme weather variations throughout the year combined with heavy foot traffic in the museum.

  • The building’s rooftop photovoltaic system is one of the largest of its kind with a 540-kilowatt solar-power system of 3,000 solar panels. This system generates 68 percent of the museum’s electricity.

  • Ten pylons provide architectural interest and serve as shading devices for 8,000-square-feet of recessed glass that provides abundant natural light.

  • Energy saving features also include the implementation of daylight sensors and lighting control systems, a high-efficiency HVAC system, evaporative cooling and radiant systems, a central plant with a radiant system and insulated exterior cladding.

  • These combined systems provide energy performance 39.5% better than the minimum Title 24 compliance.

  • The museum reduces water usage through low-flow plumbing fixtures

  • The terraced gardens are fed through a drip irrigation system that uses reclaimed water.
Western Center for Archaeology & Paleontology
2345 Searl Parkway
Hemet, CA 92543

The Western Center offers a variety of lectures, seminars, workshops and family-oriented activities.

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