Systems designed to reduce energy and water consumption and manage storm water runoff from the two buildings’ fifty-acre site were a priority for the Museum and integral to the project design.
Allowing daylight to illuminate West’s galleries was central to Phifer’s concept from the outset, fitting hand-in-glove with engineering the high-performance building envelope and environmental controls to both protect art and conserve energy. The building is designed for viewing art with only daylight during summer months. Utilizing sun-supplied ambient light reduces by almost half the need for electric lighting, reducing load on mechanical systems year-round. Since 2010 the NCMA has upgraded the original electric spotlighting to LED, reducing energy consumption by eighty percent.
Storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces causes erosion and stream pollution, a global issue stemming from development. The NCMA’s campus is now completely managed, a campaign that began with the design of West Building and the Museum Pond. Rain
is collected from the roof and paved surfaces through biofiltration gardens and collected in a 90,000-gallon buried cistern and used for irrigation. Over-capacity storm water flows through the pond’s native-planted terraces, an enormous biofilter reducing the destructive high-energy force of channelized runoff. Combined, these systems prevent downstream neighborhood flooding and degradation of streams by releasing sediment-free water toward the Neuse River and Atlantic Ocean.