See how solar panels make an electric meter run backwards, generating electric power in bright sunshine. Watch a wind turbine that can produce a thousand watts of power in a strong wind. Learn how a geothermal heat pump can save electricity, heating in the winter and cooling in the summer by transferring heat to or from the ground. Generate a hundred watts of power on the Bicycle Generator and try focusing the sun’s rays to heat a thermometer hundreds of degrees.
Spark your sense of wonder by learning key concepts of electricity. Pedal a stationary bike and see how much energy you can generate. Compare your energy output to that of a wind turbine. Create a current and make electricity.
Explore extinction, biodiversity and mutation in nature. Take a look at a diagram that follows the existence of organisms from 4 billion years ago to today. Learn about the effects of carbon emissions, the greenhouse effect and global warming.
How does it work?
A rainwater harvesting system captures, diverts and stores rainwater for later use.
Rainwater harvesting at the Science Museum
The Museum is installing a rainwater harvesting system to collect water runoff from one of the train canopies located behind the Museum. This water will be diverted to a holding tank where it will be stored and later used to irrigate the Museum’s Green Acre.
Porous pavement has similar strength and appearance to regular pavement, but is permeable so that runoff (rainwater) can flow directly through its surface and into the soil. As a result, less water flows into the street sewer system.
The parking lot located on the side of Science Museum will have a section of porous pavement to allow rainwater to easily drain into the ground below.
How does it work?
Bioretention areas are used to remove a wide range of pollutants and can help reduce stormwater runoff flow rates. They are commonly used in parking lot islands or in small areas of a developed site.
Bioretention areas use vegetation such as shrubs, trees and grasses to filter and treat stormwater runoff and are modeled after the biological and physical characteristics of a terrestrial forest or meadow ecosystem. Stormwater runoff may be directly diverted to bioretention areas overland or through a stormwater drainage system.
Tree box filters consist of a container filled with a soil mixture, a mulch layer, an under-drain system and a shrub or tree. Tree box filters collect rainwater runoff which is filtered by the vegetation and soil before going into the catch basin underneath. Water that is collected in tree boxes helps irrigate the tree.
Tree boxes at the Science Museum
Tree box filters can be a very effective means of controlling runoff, especially when distributed around a site. Tree boxes will be installed in the parking lot around the entrance to the museum.
A BayScapes garden uses native plants that are adapted to survive in the soil and climate. As such, routine watering and pesticide or fertilizer use is not necessary to maintain a flourishing garden. Planting a BayScapes garden reduces the amount of fertilizers and pesticides that flow into the James River and the Chesapeake Bay. As an added bonus, the garden provides a habitat for birds and insects.
Unlike buildings with standard roof systems of asphalt, concrete or shingles, a green roof is covered with soil and vegetation. Trees and plants can help trap water and prevent stormwater run-off. In addition, the vegetation on a green roof provides a lighter colored surface, thereby reducing heat absorption.
Green Roof at the Science Museum of Virginia
The Science Museum of Virginia is working with key partners to develop an environmental site design, demonstration, education and training center. Stormwater management technologies are being incorporated on-site at the Museum’s Broad Street location
Our project initiatives include six dynamic elements: