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NASA Plans Self-Sustaining Green Building

NASA\'s Sustainability Base, A Green Building


NASA claims it’s currently planning what would be the greenest building in the federal government. To be called the Sustainability Base, this is slated to be one of NASA’s most ambitious eco-friendly projects.

The $20.6 million building will utilize current alternative energy technologies such as water recycling systems, fuel cells and solar panels to achieve a LEED-certified edifice. NASA will even use some of its technologies developed specifically for space exploration. The aim is to build a self-sustaining structure that consumes no net energy and 90 percent less potable water than other buildings its size. According to Steve Zornetzer, Associate Center Director at NASA Ames, the name Sustainable Base is an homage to Apollo 11’s Tranquility Base.

“The very first image of this blue orb that we call Earth came from NASA,” Zornetzer said. “When the Apollo astronauts looked back and saw the Earth…it was such an astounding image that it’s really served as almost a touchstone for the whole environmental movement.”

All of the building’s technologies will be connected to an intelligent control system derived from space program counterparts. The main computer of the Sustainability Base is designed to check weather conditions constantly to plant environmental control, and has the capability to adjust temperatures inside the building depending on the number of people in a certain area. Other features of the building include a geothermal well cooling system instead of air conditioning, computer-controlled windows that open automatically when there is night-time draft, and energy-use monitors for each individual in the building. The ceremonial groundbreaking for the NASA Sustainability Base will be held this August 25; construction is expected to be completed by November 2011.

Image Courtesy of NASA


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