The Speed Art Museum is proud to announce that it has achieved LEED Gold®, one of only 15 art museums nationally to receive this designation. LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building project types, from new construction to interior fit-outs and operation & maintenance, LEED® provides a framework that project teams can apply to create healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED® certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.

“As Louisville’s first 21st century architectural landmark, the Speed achieves yet another honor with receiving a certification of LEED Gold®,” stated Speed Director Stephen Reily. “In hiring world-renowned architect Kulapat Yantrasast to design the new Speed, we asked for a building that would achieve international recognition AND celebrate art sustainably. Our LEED Gold® status confirms that we achieved both goals.”

Since reopening in 2016 the Speed has welcomed over 365,000 people to its building, and nearly 5,000 UofL students walk through the Speed’s 6-acre campus every day. The Speed is now extending the environmental and sustainable benefits of its building to that campus as it begins a long-term landscape plan that will bring people, art and nature together both inside and out.

“The Speed Art Museum is designed to be highly sustainable in every sense; environmental, cultural, and social. It aims to connect people, art and nature together,” said Kulapat Yantrasast, international architect and Speed Museum designer.

Since designing the Speed, Kulapat Yantrasast has gone on to design renovations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Asian Art Museums of San Francisco.

To obtain LEED Gold® status, the Speed met goals in the following categories: sustainable sites, water efficacy, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation and regional priority credits. Its certification was based on some of the following achievements:

  • Built on a previously developed site with existing infrastructure to avoid disturbance of any environmentally sensitive land.
  • Fritted glass exterior panels – Glass panels have a unique “rain” pattern and contains silver metallic pieces that reflect light and help protect the artwork inside the building. There are approximately 0 to 30,000 pieces of metallic frit in each piece of glass depending on the panel.
  • Low flow fixtures installed throughout the project to reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater.
  • Optimized energy performance while maintaining strict guidelines on HVAC tolerance for art.
  • Floating glass stair risers in the north building are back lit and have a heating element that keeps out condensation.
  • Regional materials were used to reduce the negative impact of transporting materials from afar and supporting local industry.
  • Provides Daylighting & quality views out of the building (with exceptions for galleries and cinema) to promote the wellness of building visitors and occupants.

The Speed is now 1 of 9 buildings in Louisville, 1 of 38 buildings in Kentucky and 1 of 15 art museums nationally to achieve LEED Gold® under the new construction certification.

Local architectural firm, K. Norman Berry Associates, led the charge to help the Speed achieve LEED Gold®. Christopher Fuller, Principal at the firm, stated “The Speed Art Museum exemplifies how design can strengthen the roots of our community with thoughtful and responsible integration of sustainable concepts in built form.”