Utah Museum of Natural History, Salt Lake City, Utah
A new architecturally sophisticated natural history museum; a dynamic and exciting tourist attraction for the city and state; environmentally sustainable use of energy; electrical installation that doesn’t distract from the exhibits; lighting control that enables energy-efficient system management while enhancing the exhibit-viewing experience; LEED Gold certification; unique lighting fixture that is safe enough to be Underwriters Laboratory listed; outstanding fire protection and safety for exhibits and visitors alike.
To build a new natural history museum that meets LEED sustainability standards and achieves the facility’s mission, “to illuminate the natural world and humans’ place within it”.
Scope of Services
For this project, Wasatch Electric provided a complete single-source installation of all electrical, fire alarm, and VESDA (very early smoke detection apparatus) systems. The electrical system consisted of a 4,000 amp feed, a 1,500 kilowatt generator, three automatic transfer switches, eight motor control centers, and 31 variable frequency drives, as well as equipment from three lighting control manufacturers and over 35 different lighting manufacturers. One of the lighting fixtures was specifically designed for this project and had to pass the UL listing process. The lighting control system was integrated with the exhibit audio-visual system to create an optimum viewing experience.
Since the client wanted to keep electrical wires and other system devices in the exhibit spaces hidden from public view, Wasatch had to carefully plan and manage the installation process. Routing of conduits posed a special challenge, because the walls were designed without the internal spaces through which conduits would traditionally have been run. Furthermore, most of the exhibit walls did not extend the whole way to the ceiling. To overcome these difficulties, Wasatch combined close coordination with the general contractor and other trades with BIM 3-D modeling. In addition, to help the facility achieve its LEED Gold certification, the project team reviewed all materials for sustainability.
The Utah Museum of Natural History (UMNH) consists of two buildings connected by a common atrium, called the canyon. The canyon atrium offers a grand entrance, showcasing exquisite design, as well as innovative electrical and leading-edge VESDA installations.