Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature
On view in the second-floor gallery February 1–May 26, 2014.
What can we learn from nature to make our dwellings more sustainable parts of the earth's natural systems?
Shelter is a universal human need—a need we share with other living things. Since buildings consume lots of resources and almost half of all the energy used in the United States it's important that we make them more efficient.
Explore biodiversity, human and animal architecture, ecosystems, and energy and water conservation —all from the perspective of the "home", in a new traveling exhibition at the Montshire Museum.
Visitors will see innovative home building technologies and learn about strategies that can help restore the health and viability of natural systems in the Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature, at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont, February 1 through May 26, 2014.
Just as birds select and gather materials from their local environments to fashion safe and nurturing nests, humans use natural resources to build homes to meet an array of needs and desires. But while shelters in the animal kingdom work in tandem with natural cycles, human shelters typically consume more than they need in natural resources and energy. Sustainable Shelter investigates the way human dwellings extract, use and discard energy, water and other natural resources.
Through graphics, cartoons, interactive computer games, model homes and mock shelters, visitors can explore how ordinary activities— from reading a book to drying clothes—impact the planet's carbon and water cycles. The exhibit also compares and contrasts human dwellings with those of other animals, offers a cross-cultural look at human dwellings from around the world and looks at the changes in building methods and consumption patterns of U.S. houses over the past 150 years. Visitors will also get the chance to try out ways to make their homes more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable with hands-on exhibits.
The Sustainable Shelter traveling exhibition was produced by the University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History and the Center for Sustainable Building Research. Major funding for the exhibition was provided by the United States Department of Energy.
Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature includes the following:
• Forces of Nature Theater
• Animal Nests and Structures
• Diversity of Shelter Wall
• Carbon Cycle Animation
• Energy Flow Projection Wall
• Home Energy Game
• Life-Cycle of a House
• Energy Use in Homes
• Water Use in Homes
• Life-Cycles of Common Building Materials
• Sustainability Research Mini-Theater
• Diversity of Wall Systems
• Compare Typical to Sustainable Construction • Water and Energy Interactives
• Models of Typical Houses Over Time
• Build Your Own Sustainable Home Activity
• Life-sized Ant Colony and Termite Mound
• Living Mini-Biosphere