Science House is home to the Minnesota Museum of Science's Resource Center for Educators, where Minnesota's science teachers gain access to the best in hands-on classroom science materials, consult with science education experts, and discuss education issues in a relaxed and creative environment. Science House was designed to be a zero-energy building: that is, the building generates, through its 8.8-kilowatt photovoltaic system, more energy than it consumes on an annual basis.
Science House, designed as a zero-energy building, is continuously monitored to publicly demonstrate that it produces more energy than uses annually. Energy modeling was used to refine design decisions to create a building that is 60% more energy efficient than required by code, and building-integrated photovoltaics are used to make the facility a net producer of energy. Key energy-efficiency strategies include: daylighting to minimize electrical lighting loads; ground-source heat pumps to heat and cool the building and to supply its hot water needs; passive solar design to minimize loads on the heat pumps; multi-modal natural ventilation; and continuous computer monitoring and control of mechanical systems to enhance indoor air quality while reducing energy consumption.
Science House was built on reclaimed land over unstable landfill on the banks of the Mississippi River. All stormwater is retained on site, and native species and permaculture landscaping retain and enhance the infiltration of runoff.
A high percentage of recycled-content materials were used inside and out. All wood used in the project was certified according to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. Construction waste was reused or recycled when possible, and a recycling program was implemented for day-to-day operations.