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 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.

    newsletterPromo(“Ethonomics”, “right”);

    [ via Popular Science]

    Related Stories:

    What’s Even Greener Than LEED? The Omega Center
    Three Ideas for Creating a Zero-Impact City Block in Dallas
    6 Ways for Obama to Green Public Housing


About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.