Fast Company

NASA to Break Ground on Super-Green "Sustainability Base"

The new office will set a high bar for intelligent, self-monitoring building design.

Sustainability Base

NASA might not get to Mars or the Moon anytime soon, but back here on the mothership, it's busying itself with a new building, dubbed Sustainability Base, designed by AECOM and William McDonough + Partners. It aims to bring about a new standard for ultra-efficient, "smart" buildings and become the greenest building in the federal government--part of

Set to break ground on August 25 at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, is actually something of an advertisement for NASA's R&D efforts--the building will incorporate a slew of monitoring technologies which were first developed for space exploration. As Space.com reports, the entire show will be run by an almost frighteningly smart central computer:

  • It'll set the building's temperature, by monitoring both weather forecasts and the local wind, sunlight, and temperature. So, for example, if a cool breeze is blowing at night, the windows will open to take advantage
  • It'll even adjust the heating and cooling to respond to where people are in the building--whether in their offices or in big meetings--based on the electronic calendars of the occupant.
  • And finally, it'll make it's presence felt to employees, by issuing tracking individual energy use and prompting people for savings on their laptops.
  • 72 geothermal wells will route naturally cooled ground water to interior panels, which will provide ambient cooling. Water recycling systems will lower the building's potable water use by 90%.

    With a budget of $20.6 million, it's set for completion in November 2011 and is expected to earn Platinum Plus LEED certification. But this being NASA, expect delays.

    [Space.com via Popular Science]

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