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February 25, 2011

Sustainability Starts in the Restrooms

The museum conducts Green Tours to give the public and design professionals an up-close look at select green products. Photo credit: Bradley Corp.

The Madison Children’s Museum doesn’t let an opportunity to educate its visitors go to waste – even the restrooms actively involve kids in learning about the building’s sustainable elements.

The museum’s “Green Tour” scavenger hunt highlights energy-efficient features throughout the building, and the restrooms are no exception. Photovoltaic cells are integrated into the top of the lavatory to capture and store natural light, giving kids an up-close demonstration of the cells in use. Signage highlights recycled content, such as restroom partitions made from recycled milk jugs: “We encourage kids to recycle every day, but it’s rare that they see the tangible, end result of their efforts,” says Ruth Shelly, the museum’s Executive Director. “Being able to see and touch these plastic partitions gives them a real-life lesson about the material’s origin.”

Each restroom is designed around a different kid-chosen theme, such as vehicles, fruits and vegetables, and the night sky, which are conveyed by colorful ceramic tiles hand-crafted by students. Between the themes and the fixtures, Shelly says the restrooms have taken center stage among the Madison Children’s Museum’s exhibits.

Madison Children’s Museum Case Study: Sustainable Features (published by Bradley Corp)

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