Environmental Design Elements

Environmental Design Elements

The Corning Museum of Glass North Wing will provide a superlative visitor experience in a state of the art, “energy smart” building. Natural lighting, building envelope, and sophisticated temperature and air quality controls provide the ideal interior environment for preserving the Museum’s unparalleled collection of glass art. In these ways, the new Corning Museum of Glass North Wing will maximize the enjoyment and protection of the art within an environmentally sensitive and architecturally distinctive structure.


The gallery has access to natural daylight through the use of diffusing roof skylights, providing the majority of the lighting required to view the art. This allows power consumption levels, associated with the building lighting, to remain well under comparable gallery spaces in other museums. In addition to the natural daylight used to light the gallery, electric track lighting is programmed to complement and spotlight the art by adjusting to changes in exterior natural light levels. Photocells located at the roof of the building work with the electric track lighting controls to blend the daylight and electric light levels and to optimize energy consumption during all hours of operation.

Building Envelope

The building envelope has been carefully tuned both to protect the art and to contribute to the energy performance of the museum. The windows and skylights of the building are all double glazed insulated glass units. The glass also incorporates high performance low–E (low emissivity) coatings which help to keep the heat out during the summer and to keep the heat in during the winter; UV filtering coatings on the glass will also protect the art from damaging ultraviolet rays.

Temperature and Air Quality Controls

In addition to providing public access to view the valuable collection of glass art, the building must also protect this art in a climate controlled environment. To accomplish this important task, Gallery Building’s environmental control systems have been designed to control the interior temperature and humidity while carefully eliminating dust and other polluting agents from the museum environment. Finally, to ensure that the gallery building will operate efficiently and will maintain the critical environmental conditions for which it was designed, a comprehensive commissioning program will be undertaken after the equipment installation is completed. In this commissioning phase, all of the building systems will be carefully tested and measured against the design standards prior to installing the art. The building staff will also be fully trained on the operation and maintenance of the building systems for optimal environmental performance.

Environmentally Sustainable Design Elements

  • Insulated double glazed windows with high performance, low-E coating to reduce heat gain
  • Daytime illumination provided by natural light
  • Daylight harvesting system
  • Carbon dioxide monitors control volume of outside air intake
  • Enthalpy wheel recovers heat from building exhaust air
  • Water-to-water heat pumps recover heat from refrigeration exhaust
  • VAV controls track occupancy and system performance to reduce energy consumption
  • Water economizer uses cooling towers instead of chillers to produce cooling in winter for pumps
  • Multiple valves on cooling coils reduce energy required for dehumidification
  • Commissioning of building systems maximizes equipment efficiency
  • Facility personnel training improves long-term maintenance and operation
  • Design of storm water retention reduces run-off and erosion
  • Site lighting is designed to meet Dark Sky standards