Photo courtesy of NASA
NASA is using decades of space exploration technology to build a new eco-aware base here in California.
Using an advanced central computer, the building will access online weather forecasts and set the building's interior climate accordingly. Sensors around the structure allow it to adjusts for changes in sunlight, wind, and temperature. For example, if the building detects a cool breeze...it could very well open the windows.
It will also adjust the room temperature based on how many occupants. The California heat will be thwarted by geothermal wells that route naturally cooled water throughout the building in lieu of using air conditioning. Here is a sneak peak of the central computer.
Okay, but seriously. The building will have zero net energy consumption, reduce potable water consumption by 90 percent, and notify occupants on how they can be more energy efficient. By using solar panels, fuel cells, and reclaimed water, the building hopes to achieve a LEED platinum plus certification.
"I decided that if we're going to build an energy efficient building, why we don't we build the most energy efficient building we can possibly build, in the spirit of what we need to do for this country," Steve Zornetzer, associate center director at NASA Ames, said.
This amazing new structure is called the Sustainability Base, a name that is an homage to the Tranquility Base from the Apollo 11 moon landing which just celebrated its 40th anniversary.
"The very first image of this blue orb that we call Earth came from NASA," said Zornetzer. "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."
Groundbreaking is scheduled for August 25, 2009 at the NASA Ames Research Center and construction should be completed by November 2011. In fact, if you want to attend you can find more information here.
The base will mainly be used as an office building but could also house scientific research and engineering.
The 50,000 square foot building is expected to run around $20.6 million. NASA's Renovation by Replacement program is footing the bill. The program aims to replace energy-sucking facilities with more efficient ones.
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