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This high-performance building for the NASA Ames Research Center is an experimental platform that can incorporate new, energy-efficient technologies over time. The 40,000 sf collaborative support facility articulates NASA’s commitment to sustainability while showcasing some of NASA’s most advanced intelligent control technologies, originally developed to support space exploration. Involved early in the integrated design process, Loisos + Ubbelohde proposed building orientation, narrow floor plates, ample and operable glazing, louvers, and cross-floor open spaces. Our consulting included daylighting, solar shading, mechanical systems, energy use, and designing the electric lighting for the project. Modeling results from Radiance and EnergyPlus were used to develop a highly efficient electric lighting system focused on delivering a high quality visual field while using as little energy as possible. The building is designed to anticipate and react to changes in sunlight, temperature, wind, and usage and will be able to optimize its performance automatically in response to internal and external change. At the forefront of building science, this near-zero net energy building will produce 80% of its power from solar panels, rely on the area’s temperate climate for natural ventilation, and use 90% less potable water than a conventional building of comparable size.

Nasa_officeLeft: Narrow floor plates allow for fully daylighted open office spaces. Right: Radiance simulation showing illuminance levels with isolux contours.

conf_roomDaylight in northeast conference room.

sectionDaylight autonomy section through office space using Radiance.

exoskeletonAerial view of the building. Image by Eric James


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William McDonough+Partners

Moffett Field, CA

Occupied, 2011
USGBC LEED Platinum, 2012

Business Environmental Award for Sustainable Built Environment, Acterra, 2013

Center for Environmental Innovation and Leadership, Leadership in Innovation Award, 2011

ENR California, Best Projects of 2011, Award of Merit – Green Building

White House GreenGov Award, 2011

General Services Administration (GSA) Real Property Award for Green Innovation, 2010

Silicon Valley Business Times Best Green Project, 2010line

Above: Automated shades to filter daylight in lobby.

pv cannopy
Above: Exterior view of the north elevation.

Below: Sunshades protect the south offices from overheating and help mitigate glare problems.


Photos by Cesar Rubio.