NASA Ames Sets Sights on Constructing the Greenest Federal Building

NASA Ames Sets Sights on Constructing the Greenest Federal Building

Courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center

Working with William McDonough + Partners and Swinerton Builders, NASA’s Ames Research Center broke ground this week on what is planned as a state-of-the-art, 50,000-square-foot green office building.

The $20.6 million building, slated for completion by the end of 2011, has been dubbed the “Sustainability Base” — a name that is intended to echo the symbolism of Tranquility Base. What Tranquility Base was to the Apollo 11 lunar landing site 40 years ago, Sustainability Base is to be to high-performance green building.

The collaborative support facility for NASA is expected to showcase the agency’s innovations and apply them to building technology to achieve virtually  zero net energy consumption. For example, sensor technology developed for NASA missions will  be incorporated into the new building.

According to the design team, the building will use 90 pecent less potable water than a comparably-sized conventional building, optimize natural ventilation through passive strategies and include a geothermal system. Other features include high-performance lighting coupled with daylighting, radiant cooling, smart building systems and on-site photovoltaic energy generation.

In dedicating the site, NASA officials and other dignitaries said the building would become the greenest government structure and that it is designed to achieve a LEED-Platinum rating.

A video on the design plans is available at

Image courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.