George Mason University is home to over 40 conservative think tanks, many of which think climate change is a hoax; fortunately the School of Art is a different place, where they care about their carbon footprint. They have converted an old shipping container into “a prototype for a zero-carbon mobile exhibition gallery and community space.”
It is powered by a 130 watt solar panel, a deep cycle battery and lit by two strings of LEDs.
They studied the container’s history and determined that it was made in China and finished in Korean paint, and given its age, would have had toxic pesticides in the wood floor. So without asking George Mason’s Robert Lichter whether the risk of chemicals was being overstated, they did the right thing and stripped it out. They then refinished it in zero VOC paint and replaced the floors with wood recovered from shipping pallets. They used recycled materials to reduce costs and waste, and “investigated and utilized several innovative, small-scale sustainable building practices.”
They also installed skylights made from recycled frosted glass, placed at angles corresponding to the degrees of the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. The result:
“When the project is complete, the shipping container will challenge norms of the traditional gallery space with elements of sustainability, mobility and access.”