At Science Museum Oklahoma, we understand that the world's natural resources are declining as demand is increasing. As upgrades are made to the museum, we consider the impact they will have on both our community and the environment.
Sustainability at SMO
From the parking lot to the SMO Gardens, Science Museum Oklahoma's sustainability practices can be seen throughout the museum and grounds. SMO has a dedicated staff member to oversee current and long-term sustainability, hosts annual events to promote sustainability and environmental awareness, and works to educate staff about the different areas of sustainability.
The museum is a fellow in Sustainability in Science Museums Fellowship sponsored by Arizona State University and Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives.
Here are some places you can see sustainability in the museum's design and amenities:
SMO Gardens and Grounds
- The SMO Gardens include a certified Monarch Waystation to assist the monarch butterfly — an important pollinator — in its migration.
- The museum's gardens and grounds include numerous Oklahoma-native and Oklahoma-proven plants — native plants require less water and maintenance, they support native pollinator populations like bees and butterflies, and they hold soil in place. All of the museum's landscaping is done with native or low-water materials.
- The museum has an active compost program. Composting yard waste and kitchen scraps can reduce landfills by 15-25%.
- SMO's Bunny BnB, located in the gardens, demonstrates vermicomposting and aquaculture.
- The museum's flower beds are watered with a drip system — this allows for deeper watering and less evaporation.
- The museum's parking lot is curbless, which allows for the capture of runoff water.
- SMO captures water from the museum's cooling system for reuse in the gardens.
Inside the Museum
- Most of the museum's lights, indoor and out, have been converted to LED bulbs, reducing energy consumption by more than 25%. Many of our lights are set on motion-sensing timers, ensuring that energy is not wasted.
- Scrap metal produced by the exhibit design team and the building maintenance team is reused or recycled.
- Scrap material from exhibit projects are reused elsewhere in the museum to reduce waste. An example is the museum's bunny hutch, which was built with plywood taken from the Mirror Maze after its renovation.
- The museum receives a large volume of freight annually, most of which is packed in cardboard. All of that cardboard is reused or recycled.
- While the museum still supplies paper guides and brochures, introducing digital signage throughout the museum has drastically reduced the amount of printed materials SMO produces.
- The museum's plumbing — from toilets to sinks — are designed to use as little water as possible.
- The museum's tinkering spaces, the Tinkering Garage and Tinkerworks, reuse materials like cardboard, water bottles, cans, food containers, and plastic bags for tinkering projects. The Tinkering Garage is also a destination for many old electronics, which may be donated for take-aparts and are later recycled.
- Like many workplaces, SMO shreds documents that contain sensitive information. At the museum, that shredded paper is used in the museum's compost and animal bedding.
- The museum's cafe uses paper cups and food containers, keeping countless amounts of Styrofoam out of landfills each year.