(Credit: Kathryn Whitney/California Academy of Sciences) A series of rolling hillocks, spotted with blooming asters, chalky green succulents and clusters of wild strawberries rise up around Scott Moran. Butterflies flit from flower to flower as he watches a pair of red-tailed hawks teach their young to hunt from the hill tops. Moran is not on a stroll in the secluded countryside. Instead, he is standing on top of the building in the middle of San Francisco where he works everyday, taking a short break for lunch. The bustling sounds city life assail him from all sides. Moran works at the California Academy of Sciences, which is capped by 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of living roof where nearly 1.7 million plants, insects and birds flourish. The building has been painstakingly designed to be among one of the most environmentally-friendly in the world. Solar panels that surround the living roof provide 5% of the building’s energy, while water flowing through pipes in the bathrooms also generates power. Automatic skylights open and close to help regulate the temperature inside the building while natural sunlight is used to illuminate as much of it as possible. During his 15 years at the Academy, Moran […]

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