A new $20.6 million NASA building is being hailed as the greenest-ever construction project by the federal government.
The new Ames Research Center, dubbed the “Sustainability Base” by NASA, is being constructed near Moffett Field in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The building will use a number of technologies originally developed for use in outer space, including specialized sensors, but the facility will conduct research on a number of down-to-earth matters, including making more energy efficient windows to light bulb designs, reports MercuryNews.
Closer to NASA’s mission, the facility also will contribute research that could be used on future missions to the moon and Mars.
The building will have 20,000 square feet of rooftop photovoltaic panels.
To improve heating and cooling of the facility, it will use geothermal wells to dissipate heat in warm weather and extract ground heat during the winter. Additionally, the building will be situated so as to allow sensors to open windows and allow for natural breezes to regulate the indoor temperature.
During the night, the building’s sensors will help pump cool evening air over the foundation slab, as a means of creating a thermal reservoir that regulates temperature during the day.