NASA's Ames Sustainability Base Wins Two Awards for Sustainability, Innovation

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Sustainability Base (Building N232) in Moffett Field, Calif., has won two awards for sustainability and innovation.

The NASA Ames Sustainability Base project has won the 2010 U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Award for Green Innovation and the 2010 San Jose Silicon Valley Award for Best Green Public Structure. The project has also been submitted for the 2011 U.S. Presidential GreenGov Award and was featured in the White House press release “GreenGov Success Stories.”

Acting as landscape architect as well as architect and engineer of record, AECOM Technology Corp., a leading provider of professional technical and management support services for government and commercial clients around the world — in a partnership with William McDonough + Partners as design architect, and Loisos + Ubbelohde as daylight and energy consultants — used a building information modeling (BIM) approach, along with Revit Architecture, to achieve LEED Platinum™ sustainable design certification and approach net-zero energy consumption for the building. AECOM and consulting partners completed the design of the NASA N232 Sustainability Base, the first new office building to be built at the NASA Ames Research Center in two decades. The sustainable facility will feature administrative office areas, conference spaces, ecological landscaping, renewable energy technology and innovative wastewater treatment incorporating NASA technology.

“The BIM process provided many advantages over traditional independent approaches — disciplines are linked, coordination is increased, fewer errors occur, and so we were able to leverage the highest efficiency,” said June Grant, AECOM project manager for AECOM’s Design + Planning practice, North America. “The result is the team was able to deliver a showcase design on time and under budget.”

Using Autodesk BIM solutions, AECOM completed the drawings and design in approximately nine months — half the time originally scheduled for the project.

“One of the most visible aspects of the new facility was its innovative steel-frame exoskeleton, which required close coordination between the architects and structural engineers, who utilized Revit Structure software,” said Grant. “Revit Architecture, in tandem with Revit Structure, enabled transparency in identifying structural changes which impacted the architecture.

It was an essential component of NASA Ames’ design goal to achieve a healthier work environment that incorporated more natural light and increased flexibility for future space re-configuration."

The Sustainability Base is the first facility constructed under NASA Ames' Renovation by Replacement Program, in which new high-performance facilities replace dated, inefficient buildings.

At net-zero energy, the facility exceeds federally mandated U.S. Energy Reduction targets of 30-percent energy reduction by the year 2020 and 100-percent reduction by the year 2030.

”BIM solutions were an integral and critical aspect in both the production of the design documents and the analysis undertaken to inform the design,” said Jim Walsh, AECOM senior vice president and chief technology officer. “The NASA Ames Sustainability Base is a great example of AECOM’s continuous integration of technology software programs to offer solutions that add value for our clients’ projects.”

Construction on the project is scheduled for completion in fall 2011.