NASA Center Brings Space Tech To Earth

Built to LEED Platinum standards, NASA’s new Sustainability Base at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley is designed with smart building tech that adopts to occupant energy use and changing weather conditions to optimize energy efficiency.

This 50,000 square foot building — which serves as both a working office space and a showcase for self-sustaining NASA tech originally developed for off-planet missions  — is the result of a 2007 competition that challenged NASA Directors to imagine a new, energy efficient base of operations for their work. The winner of this “Renovation and Replacement” competition was Steve Zornetzer, Associate Center Director for NASA Ames, whose proposal was inspired by the closed-loop thinking that NASA employs in space, focused on ultra-efficiency and healthy indoor environments for staff members.

NASA Sustainability Base

image via NASA

The Los Angeles Times reports that executives from high-tech firms including IBM, Adobe Systemsand the J. Craig Venter Institute have toured the complex recently in pursuit of ideas for their own campuses, as green building has become a popular trend lately for companies looking to cut energy costs while gaining eco-credibility.

NASA’s Sustainability Base costs about six percent more expensive to construct than a conventional building of similar size, but is expected to make its money back on energy savings within a decade.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.