NASA plans to officially open its new Sustainability Base building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. The 50,000-square-foot building, pictured left and below, is located at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and is under consideration for the highest U.S. Green Building Council LEED rating of Platinum.
The building uses lightweight insulated metal panel cladding, which meant that less material was required during construction. Designers also chose a steel structure instead of concrete because steel can be more easily taken down and repaired after a natural disaster such as an earthquake.
In addition, the building is designed to regulate itself based on changes in the weather. It's equipped with green IT to enable it to anticipate and respond to changes in sunlight, temperature, wind and occupancy and make adjustments accordingly to keep it as energy efficient as possible, NASA says.
It also includes some of NASA's own technologies, including a Bloom Energy Box fuel cell and a water recovery system originally designed for the International Space Station.
William McDonough, the building's design architect, left, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and Associate Director of NASA's Ames Research Center Steven Zornetzer discuss the different features of the building.
Solar photovoltaic and thermal panels generate up to 30 percent of the building's electricity and provide domestic hot water.
An outdoor air system pumps in fresh air when the building's windows are closed.
The building's lighting control system automatically adjusts the lighting depending on the time of day.
Tall windows, along with multiple skylights, provide ample natural light throughout the building.
The building is designed to integrate with the surrounding natural environment. All healthy, existing trees on the site were kept in place. And the vegetation surrounding the building includes native and drought-tolerant species.