San Francisco Academy of Sciences: Plants in Bloom on Planetarium Dome
Business Wire Photos
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — As part of its commitment to a healthier environment and its ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Rain Master is nearing completion of a Central Irrigation Control system for what has been hailed as the most complicated living roof ever constructed.
The Rain Master Control system will enable the California Sciences Academy in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the greenest museum ever built, to forgo a traditional tar and asphalt roof in favor of a plant-covered “GREEN” canopy that will not only save energy, but will transform carbon dioxide into oxygen.
San Francisco Academy of Sciences: Aerial View
The Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, and Steinhart Aquarium, along with eight scientific research departments and 20 million scientific specimens, will be housed in the single Academy building, expected to be the largest public LEED Platinum Certified structure in the world when it opens in October of 2008.
“We’re certainly very proud to be part of this very important project,” said Rain Master President/CEO Jim Sieminski.
“As technological leaders in irrigation control systems, it’s been a pleasure for us to work with industry leaders in architecture, landscape architecture, and irrigation design.”
The new system utilizes Rain Master’s Advanced OASIS™ software to provide the correct amount of water necessary to maintain the 1.7 million native California plants and wildflowers blanketing the seven ‘hills’ spread out over the roof’s 2.5 acres.
Beneath the soil lies a sophisticated, layered drainage system, and below the drainage system are seven concrete domes, as designed by celebrity lead architect Renzo Piano to reflect the city’s undulating topography.
Piano, a Pritzker Prize winner, was joined by landscape architect John Loomis of the internationally renowned SWA Group of Sausalito. Marty Dickson, of industry leading Dickson and Associates, designed the irrigation.
“I chose Rain Master’s OASIS system because their products and customer service are exceptional,” said Dickson about contracting the company through its distributor, John Deere Landscapes – Green Tech Division. “Rain Master’s commitment to the success of the project has been exemplary throughout the process.”
Two separate systems on one site
The Academy will utilize two separate OASIS Central Control Systems; the rooftop will be monitored by the Academy of Sciences irrigation management personnel, while the system for the surrounding grounds will be monitored by the Golden Gate Park personnel.
The OASIS Central collects and disseminates information between several Rain Master DX2 satellite controllers and the OASIS on-site weather stations. The Central constantly monitors the DX2 controllers that communicate with 100 zones on the park grounds, and 38 zones on the roof. Each zone is designated to distribute water according to its programmed parameters. The OASIS program, in conjunction with flow sensors, continually monitors and records all irrigation water flow which can then be viewed on screen or in a report format selected by the operator.
“It’s very important for the roof to have the proper irrigation management because the shallow soil profile has a very low holding capacity for water,” Dickson said.
“In addition, the grade change on the roof adds to the difficulty of maintaining moisture in the soil because water gravitationally flows away from the top of the mounds and toward the lower areas.
“There were unique communication requirements between the weather stations and the Central computer,” Dickson continued. “Rain Master has resolved those challenges in a very expedient manner.”
In order to address these issues, the drainage system is shaped in the form of a massive egg crate, providing miniature reservoirs across the roof deck which guarantees a perpetual water supply directly under the soil.
“If there’s a break in the irrigation system – if more flow is occurring then should occur when a particular zone is turned on – then the Central computer shuts down the master valve,” explained Dickson.