The space race has forever changed the ways in which aeronautical engineers develop technologies and projects, revolutionising the industry and bringing the world into the modern era of space travel.
It follows, then, that NASA, cutting-edge leaders of innovation and technology, would still be breaking records in the very latest race – the green building race.
While it may not be as jaw-dropping as sending a man to the moon, NASA has yet again achieved what no other organisation has, earning the distinction of being the America’s greenest federal building ever.
NASA’s Sustainability Base has achieved a LEED platinum certification due a number of green technologies employed in the running of the building. When combined, these technologies allow for an incredible facility that produces more energy than it needs to run.
This California-based $25 million ‘design prototype’ is the brainchild of architect William McDonough. Surprisingly for a building that goes beyond carbon-zero status, it is comprised primarily of glass.
However, instead of hindering the sustainability efforts of the building, the glass façade aids in natural lighting gain, with the ‘ground up’ construction process and shade-inducing structural exoskeleton acting to block extensive solar gain.
Some of the incredible technological elements featured in the building include a wind turbine, a state-of-the-art Bloom Energy Box fuel cell, and an extensive range of photovoltaic cells. Perhaps the most innovative, and ingenious, technological aspect of the facility is the wireless climate control sensor system, which allows the building to adapt to exterior environmental and weather changes, modifying interior environments to cater to exterior environmental conditions.
The new facility is not simply a structure to show off. It demonstrates that some of the most important and highly intelligent buildings in the world can be more than just energy efficient; they can actually produce renewable and sustainable energy in amounts greater than those needed to run the initial facility.
NASA has always pushed forward in creating the most cutting-edge, intelligent and innovative information and technologies available. It would then stand to reason that their work in creating true sustainable design is all of the above.