NASA has charted the stars and sent humans into outer space - and now they're breaking ground here on Earth by launching the greenest federal building in the United States. Opened last month, the LEED Platinum NASA Sustainability Base is a thinking, learning building that puts the space-age technologies of tomorrow to work on earth today. The landmark project generates more energy that it consumes using a photovoltaic array, a small wind turbine, and a Bloom Energy Box fuel cell, and it utilizes a super efficient greywater recycling system (designed for the International Space Station) to cut water use by 90% compared to a traditional building. It also features an extensive network of wireless sensors that allow the building to automatically react to changes in temperature, sunlight, wind, weather, and occupancy to provide a comfortable interior environment. Inhabitat recently had a chance to take a sneak peek at the new building, which was designed by William McDonough + Partners with integrated design and engineering by AECOM - read on for a look!
Situated at Moffet Field in Mountain View, California, the $25 million NASA Sustainability Base features a front facade that takes design cues from the International Space Station. At a media unveiling today Green architect and Cradle to Cradle founder William McDonough explained that his team sought to design a building that was “native to place” – meaning that it was carefully designed to suit its site while maximizing efficiency and actually creating a positive impact upon the environment. The 50,000 square-foot structure was built from the ground up to meld with its surrounding environment and make the most of available daylight, natural ventilation, and shading.
The building’s relatively narrow 54-foot width allows daylight to reach the middle of each floor, and the entire building is wrapped in an exoskeleton that provides shade while allowing light and air to flow inside the building. This exoskeleton also provides great seismic stability and allows the interior to have a column-free floor plan.