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NASA Unveils Greenest Federal Building In the Nation

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the green-space dept.

Earth 172

An anonymous reader writes "NASA just unveiled its new Sustainability Base — an exceptionally efficient building that harnesses technology developed for the International Space Station. The high-tech complex produces more energy than it consumes and it was just awarded LEED Platinum certification, making it the greenest federal building in the nation. The project features an extensive network of wireless sensors that allow the building to automatically react to changes in weather and occupancy and NASA's forward-osmosis water recycling system, which cuts water use by 90% compared to a traditional building."

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172 comments

Cheapest too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743801)

Once NASA is finally dissolved, this place won't costs us taxpayers a penny.

More Buck Rogers not less! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743835)

This should stick in the craw of those luddites that believe Space Tech doesn't have any use on Earth!

Even the displays will be green! (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#39743939)

There will be no red or blue pixels on any display used in the building, and no greyscale shit either. Just imagine the glorious greenish glow from all those high-tech CRTs which can be got cheap from almost any landfill...

Re:More Buck Rogers not less! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39745177)

Please describe why this technology needed to be developped in space? It didn't. All technology came from the Earth... Spending billions so a bunch of test pilots can float in a tin can, do some highly scripted "science", then come back down to Earth, is not exploring, and it's not science.

You could spend those billions and subsidize thousands of PhD students that will develop FAR MORE than what's done now. Why are you stuck in a 1960s Space Age mentality?

Still not truly green (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743839)

It is hideous and whilst a great attempt at being green, to say it produces more energy than it uses it a major misstatement of fact. Everyone knows that the solar panels consume far more energy in their production than they ever produce in their lifetime and what about all the energy producing the steel and erecting the building?

When are these bulldust artists going to get real?

Re:Still not truly green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743867)

This is SlashDot, evidence please!

Re:Still not truly green (1)

randomErr (172078) | about 2 years ago | (#39743897)

Decrease of Solar Panel Efficiency http://solarpanel-direct.com/decrease-solar-panel-efficiency [solarpanel-direct.com]

Re:Still not truly green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744069)

Everybody knows that, I think the poster was referring to your statement that the actual building is not energy efficient. Wheres the evidence to suggest that?

Re:Still not truly green (4, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39745161)

It's true for the high-end space-ready panels intended for satellites (as used on satellites). When news of that hit the climate denial blogs, every anti-environmentalist idiot out there assumed it applies to all solar panels.

Re:Still not truly green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743893)

Everyone knows that the solar panels consume far more energy in their production than they ever produce in their lifetime

Citation?

and what about all the energy producing the steel and erecting the building

You'd have to do that anyway.

Re:Still not truly green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744129)

Everyone knows that the solar panels consume far more energy in their production than they ever produce in their lifetime

Citation?

and what about all the energy producing the steel and erecting the building

You'd have to do that anyway.

Never heard of wood?

Re:Still not truly green (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#39744669)

Never heard of wood?

Ever heard of fire?

Wooden office buildings haven't been in vogue for about 150 years or so.

Re:Still not truly green (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 2 years ago | (#39744951)

Ever been on tour of Downtown Seattle, which had a huge fire that burned down all of downtown once? You cannot build a wood building in Seattle's downtown anymore.. :)

Re:Still not truly green (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743907)

While you will get no argument from me about the steel, do you have any recent figures regarding the Wh ratio for production vs. lifetime production of current solar cells?

I'm curious if this is one of those "every knows $foo" type deals where $foo isn't really true anymore.

Re:Still not truly green (5, Informative)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | about 2 years ago | (#39743919)

Everyone knows that the solar panels consume far more energy in their production than they ever produce in their lifetime

Completely bogus. [wikipedia.org] It takes maybe 1-4 years to recoup the energy cost of construction, and the panels can last 30 years.

Re:Still not truly green (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743953)

Everyone knows that the solar panels consume far more energy in their production than they ever produce in their lifetime

Completely bogus. [wikipedia.org] It takes maybe 1-4 years to recoup the energy cost of construction, and the panels can last 30 years.

When you look at not just your "source", but the source's source, over at http://alpha.chem.umb.edu/chemistry/ch471/evans%20files/Net_Energy%20solar%20cells.pdf
You will find it's not as simple as you make it out to be.
"However, it should be noted that the above payback periods assume that the modules are always operated at their maximum power points [5], as with a maximum power point tracker. It is also assumed that no photovoltaic power is wasted or dumped, as would sometimes occur in many stand-alone systems, such as those using battery storage"

Solar panels are NOT working at their maximum power point during most days of the year. Not even close to half of it, actually. The time to "recoup" the production energy will be significantly longer than you or the Wikipedia "summary" imply.

Re:Still not truly green (4, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#39744349)

The time to "recoup" the production energy will be significantly longer than you or the Wikipedia "summary" imply.

But even "significantly longer" is infinitely better than "never", so for those keeping score, the AC who said,

Everyone knows that the solar panels consume far more energy in their production than they ever produce in their lifetime

...is completely full of shit.

Re:Still not truly green (0, Troll)

LittleImp (1020687) | about 2 years ago | (#39744501)

Not if they break before they produce more energy than they consume which is very well possible.

Re:Still not truly green (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#39744883)

But even "significantly longer" is infinitely better than "never", so for those keeping score, the AC who said,

Everyone knows that the solar panels consume far more energy in their production than they ever produce in their lifetime

...is completely full of shit.

Unless the panel is placed in an area where it rains a lot and winters aren't particularly sunny (UK anyone?). I can easily see that a solar panel in a temperate region can easily fail before it's broken even with production cost.

Re:Still not truly green (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#39744943)

Unless the panel is placed in an area where it rains a lot and winters aren't particularly sunny (UK anyone?)

Why don't you ask all the people in Germany whose solar panels have already paid for themselves?

Re:Still not truly green (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744691)

Solar panels are NOT working at their maximum power point during most days of the year. Not even close to half of it, actually.

They assume 1700 hrs of sunlight, this is accounted for in the study.

Re:Still not truly green (2, Informative)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#39744095)

Sorry, the truth isnt nearly as cleancut as either of you want to make it.

It takes up to 4 years assuming constant peak utilisation according to the source you point to. Constant peak utilisation is obviously an extremely unrealistic assumption.

More plausible usage patterns would result in longer times to break even. In practice tropical installations with well chosen location can get close to that. Marginal usage cases may never recoup in that sense at all though. Economically it can still make sense for other reasons, of course, but that is hardly 'green' if that has any meaning other than being a silly codeword for politically correct.

Re:Still not truly green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744771)

"constant peak utilisation" LIAR. it states : "depending on the module type and location."

Re:Still not truly green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744141)

Everyone knows that the solar panels consume far more energy in their production than they ever produce in their lifetime

Completely bogus. [wikipedia.org] It takes maybe 1-4 years to recoup the energy cost of construction, and the panels can last 30 years.

Read the assumptions in those papers, Dr Helino. Peak operation is acheved for 2-3 hours a day only at an optimal current intensity, and only under maximum insolation. The statistical probability for all these optimal conditions to coverge forms a discount factor you would need to divide your utopian 1-4 years to. So no, given that birds poop, hail falls, racoons jump around, and optimal conditions rarely coverge in time, a real solar panel in our real world is very unlikely to breeak even, let alone significantly benefit us. Remember, Wikipedia is only as good as its writers are experienced.

Dr Al.

Re:Still not truly green (1)

WillDraven (760005) | about 2 years ago | (#39745157)

What everyone must keep in mind is this: Even if absolutely none of the solar panels produced today will ever break even (a debatable point, if nothing else), if nobody bought them now, there would be no incentive to increase efficiency in the manufacturing process. Unless physics makes it impossible for solar panels to ever be an economically viable option, I still think it's worth putting the effort into improving the state of the art in the field, even if it has to be subsidized by, oh, I don't know, maybe.. the federal government inflating demand by installing them on large new buildings....

Grün (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743881)

Parking lot filled with SUVs, no bike rack, what a green environment.

Re:Grün (4, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#39744377)

Parking lot filled with SUVs, no bike rack, what a green environment.

There are bike racks on both sides of the front door, and only 3 SUVs in the parking lot.

Just in time for it to be defunded ! (0)

assemblerex (1275164) | about 2 years ago | (#39743889)

Spend money one exploring? Surely the TSA needs more money to search cripples and elderly.

Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743921)

All the NASA types are being kicked off the welfare rolls.

Unimpressive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39743941)

This building is in Mountain View California. The climate does not require much from a building to maintain the interior temps. Do this in Minnesota and then there is something to brag about. This building has not actually exhibited the performance claimed. This building appears to be just another cubicle hell. This building may not be a 24 hour fully inhabited building as it appears to rely upon windows for light. Solar panels do in fact return more energy than used to make them in a place with suitable insolation values. Slapping solar panels on a windowed building to serve a 9 to 5 operation in Mountain View just isn't impressive at all. The self promotion makes it even less impressive.

Re:Unimpressive (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#39744017)

And the worst part is, it's white! Surely there are buildings that have been painted with a more green tinge than this. At least a subtle seafoam?

Reading between the lines (5, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#39744027)

NASA's forward-osmosis water recycling system, which cuts water use by 90% compared to a traditional building.

You are drinking your own urine.

And whatever other urine they can find.

On the plus side, the entire process renders the building water orange and tastes like Tang.

Re:Reading between the lines (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744079)

At least its got electrolytes in it ;)

Re:Reading between the lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744215)

Haha classic, someone mod this up FUNNY!

Yes and? You always have been (5, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#39744173)

You are eating someone's shit, breathing someone's farts, eating someone's rotting corpse and drinking someone's pee. Welcome to the wonderful world of nature. (Plants grow on fertilizer (shit), oxygen is the bad breath of plants, meat and plants are dead bodies, and every bit of water has been through someone's digestive track).

Always strikes me as funny that people who would happily pay a fortune for the right to drink from a spring that a bear shat in but refuse to drink tap water that has been filtered and monitored to hell and back. You were made from dirt, eat dirt and will become the dirt in someone elses cycle of life. Enjoy!

Re:Yes and? You always have been (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#39744405)

And all of that effluent was forged in the heart of stars. It's a magical world.

Re:Yes and? You always have been (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#39744795)

Every element heavier than gold was made in a supernova.

Boggles the mind.

Re:Yes and? You always have been (1)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#39744875)

I could be wrong but I thought you could only get to Iron in a star.

Re:Yes and? You always have been (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#39745397)

Every element heavier than gold was made in a supernova.

I could be wrong but I thought you could only get to Iron in a star.

Is the latter not included in the former? >_>

Re:Yes and? You always have been (2)

dpilot (134227) | about 2 years ago | (#39745525)

Everything up to and including iron can come from normal fusion. To get past iron you need something more. I don't know if there are processes shy of a supernova to do that, but certainly a supernova does, and it wouldn't surprise me to find that there are other processes as well, though maybe more limited.

Re:Yes and? You always have been (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#39745029)

Always strikes me as funny that people who would happily pay a fortune for the right to drink from a spring that a bear shat in but refuse to drink tap water that has been filtered and monitored to hell and back.

If you're talking about bottled water, it's probably from a municipal water supply, just in a different part of the country. But you're right that tap water in developed countries is safer, cleaner, and (according to blind taste tests) tastier than any other kind of water you can get.

Most greywater systems focus on reusing the water for toilets. Who cares if it's safe to drink if you're just going to piss in it?

Re:Yes and? You always have been (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#39745703)

Disease can spread through grey water. Water spinkled in a garden can be breathed by passer's by. Therefore all water used in a city must be purified, else it is a very expensive health risk.

The Rorschach Response (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#39745335)

You are eating someone's shit, breathing someone's farts, eating someone's rotting corpse and drinking someone's pee. Welcome to the wonderful world of nature.

Whoa there Gene Simmons, I didn't ascribe any positive or negative value to my observations.

I would however just add that usually I'm drinking someone else's rotting corpse pee filtered many months/years/eons through nature though, not from an "in the can and back by ten" kind of system...

Always strikes me as funny that people who would happily pay a fortune for the right to drink from a spring that a bear shat in but refuse to drink tap water that has been filtered and monitored to hell and back.

You forgot chlorinated! Filtered and monitored and chlorinated. Just what do you have sir against water with the faintly metallic (from the bells) tang of bear shat? Some prefer it!

You were made from dirt, eat dirt and will become the dirt in someone elses cycle of life.

Not me, I'm getting off the unicycle at the end of my trip.

Re:Reading between the lines (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39744469)

Just like real astronauts. Also, you are wrong:

This system stores all greywater [wikipedia.org] used in the building and processes it in an on-site treatment plant, reducing water consumption by 90% compared to a traditional building.

Re:Reading between the lines (1)

bosef1 (208943) | about 2 years ago | (#39744829)

I've noted it before, and I'll note it again: "You can't pee into a Mr. Coffee and get Taster's Choice."

Re:Reading between the lines (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#39745019)

Have you every actually had Taster's Choice? I argue that your premise may actually be false, or at least that the product of the event may be indistinguishable from the normal brewing method.

Re:Reading between the lines (3, Funny)

WillDraven (760005) | about 2 years ago | (#39745241)

Well, duh.

Everyone knows that it's American BEER that's made of pee.

Taster's Choice and other American Coffee are composed of charred feces.

Can't be mixing up your excrements like that.

Re:Reading between the lines (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#39745677)

No, that would be reverse osmosis. With forward osmosis, you are drinking the next girl's urine.

and what a bargain! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744133)

for the tax payer at only $1,500,000 a square foot! we should be so grateful!

Aerospace Please (2, Insightful)

elkto (558121) | about 2 years ago | (#39744143)

When there was a article posted about the NASA's bias against science to promote the Green agenda; someone remarked that NASA should stick to Aerospaceâ¦. I agreed with that; even if I knew from first hand knowledge of the bias.

While I understand there is going to be spin off technologies from the Space program, I would rather they focus on their primary responsibilities.

Re:Aerospace Please (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#39744395)

While I understand there is going to be spin off technologies from the Space program, I would rather they focus on their primary responsibilities.

You mean like Tang and velcro?

If we're ever going to do human space exploration, this "green technology" could certainly pay off because people are going to have to carry everything they use. The line between what is and what is not "aerospace" is not as clear when you start to talk about long-distance space exploration by humans.

Mostly glass and steel (3, Funny)

ZaMoose (24734) | about 2 years ago | (#39744157)

The article claims it's the world's greenest building, but from the pictures it looks kinda blue, steely and clear for the most part.

Re:Mostly glass and steel (1)

DesScorp (410532) | about 2 years ago | (#39745579)

The article claims it's the world's greenest building, but from the pictures it looks kinda blue, steely and clear for the most part.

It's also ugly as sin.

That funny tasting water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744159)

I woder if the employees there are encouraged to drink more water at home so they can introduce more in their closed system and reduce their utility bill....

Nasa needs to build a bio dome (4, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39744163)

The first bio dome failed because the concrete consumed more oxygen then was previously believed. The facility never produced enough oxygen even to cure the concrete and thus couldn't be sealed.

NASA should build a bio dome that can be sealed. People don't need to live in it all the time. Use airlocks so people can go home at the end of the day. The point is that the facility should produce enough air, clean water, power, and food to keep five or more people alive indefinitely.

Once we can build such a facility we can theoretically set up bases on the moon or other planets. We might even consider keeping the plants alive entirely with artificial light since regular light cycles won't be useful on other worlds. We might have to turn geothermal energy into light or even use a fission reactor.

I don't care if nasa built an environmentally friendly building. That has nothing to do with space exploration. Want to impress me? Build something that produces more oxygen then the occupants consume.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744365)

Want to impress me? Build something that produces more oxygen then the occupants consume.

So you mean put a small forest in the building and make sure there is plenty of natural light? Sounds like the kind of place I could work

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 2 years ago | (#39745373)

For Oxygen production, forest is about the worst you can get. When a tree gets over a certain age (not sure...not a plant scientist) it consumes more oxygen than it produces. You are much better off with Algae, or some kind of grass.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (1)

operagost (62405) | about 2 years ago | (#39745737)

Only if that tree has almost no leaves on it. The process of photosynthesis creates more oxygen than it uses. A tree only becomes a net consumer of oxygen in the darkness or when the leaves have fallen off.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39744423)

You missed a constraint: It needs to be tiny. Lifting mass out of the gravity well costs a fortune, so you need to get those people living in as small and light a biodome as possible.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (2)

LittleImp (1020687) | about 2 years ago | (#39744585)

I don't think that is the case. You probably wouldn't build the biodome on earth and then transport it to another planet.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (2)

foniksonik (573572) | about 2 years ago | (#39744607)

Most building mass would I imagine be taken from the surface of the destination.

More likely would be sealing off an underground cave or tunnel. Digging requires no more than the equipments mass. Sealing would require material for airtight foam.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39744985)

Caves present survey problems. You need to make sure the cave is stable and isn't going to come crashing down once people and equipment start banging around. Trivial for a human team, but a real challenge when all you have are robots. Even worse if you're going any further than the moon and have to deal with light-lag.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#39744441)

I don't care if nasa built an environmentally friendly building. That has nothing to do with space exploration.

Another genius.

"Green" means something besides "environmentally friendly". It means "sustainable", too. And if human beings are going to be traveling really long distances in space, more than just "fly to the moon and fall back", then sustainability is going to be a big part of the technical hurdle that needs to be overcome.

Want to impress me? Start a permanent colony on another planet or outside of the solar system (not you, Karmashock, I mean NASA, but you are welcome to try). But even with this perfect dome you want NASA to build, they better have conservation down to a science, which NASA is trying to do, to their credit.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (1)

DesScorp (410532) | about 2 years ago | (#39745631)

And if human beings are going to be traveling really long distances in space, more than just "fly to the moon and fall back", then sustainability is going to be a big part of the technical hurdle that needs to be overcome.

And if we actually had the technology to take humans long distances in space, that might matter. But we don't, and it doesn't. There will be no Mars landing in our lifetime. And humans going to any other world other than Mars? Get back to me when someone actually learns to make that wormhole.

This building has nothing to do with space exploration, and everything to do with the government's greener than thou initiatives.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39745685)

Now, if we can only figure out what 'sustainable' means, we'll finally be getting somewhere!

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#39745083)

The first bio dome failed because the concrete consumed more oxygen then was previously believed.

And here I was thinking it was because Pauly Shore wasn't funny.

Re:Nasa needs to build a bio dome (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39745243)

With current environmental policies there will be applications for that biodome right here on Earth...

More water conservation (1)

grahamm (8844) | about 2 years ago | (#39744265)

If they want to be even greener, why not save more water and reduce the volume of waste discharged into the sewers? Not stopping at using the recycled grey water for flushing urinals and toilets, but providing waterless urinals in the mens rooms and urine separating toilets in the womens rooms. Maybe going even further and collecting the urine from the (waterless) urinals and urine separating toilets and processing it separately (eg as fertiliser) rather than discharging it into the sewerage system.

Lies (5, Insightful)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | about 2 years ago | (#39744295)

From NASA's site it looks like the majority of power comes from an on-site fuel cell.

That's a bit like me building a big garage, installing a big-ass natural gas generator and saying my building returns power to the grid.

Now yes, fuel cells are better than natural gas, but it's still not the building producing it's own power. It's a small power plant on the same lot as the building

Re:Lies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744497)

From NASA's site it looks like the majority of power comes from an on-site fuel cell.

That's a bit like me building a big garage, installing a big-ass natural gas generator and saying my building returns power to the grid.

Why yes, just like installing a big-ass solar power generator and saying the building returns power to the grid. The fact is that it does return power to the grid, no matter how much nit picking you invest in.

But hey, your type of people may be faced with a completelly autosufficient solar power generator and still bitch about how it relies on a power source that causes skin cancer. Haters gonna hate.

Re:Lies (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744529)

From NASA's site it looks like the majority of power comes from an on-site fuel cell.

That's a bit like me building a big garage, installing a big-ass natural gas generator and saying my building returns power to the grid.

Now yes, fuel cells are better than natural gas, but it's still not the building producing it's own power. It's a small power plant on the same lot as the building

Bloom boxes (the fuel cells mentioned in the article) use natural gas as well. Then it's only question about the efficiency (in regards to CO2 and emissions).

Fuel cells might be the most efficient method of producing electricity in small scale, but in larger scale they tend to lose to bigger plants... for now (potential is higher though). Bloom boxes are rated for 100 kW and 200 kW approximately, with > 50% electrical efficiency. Gas turbines, gas engines can achieve this, but only in larger scale, thus a blanket statement that fuel cells are better, is bit over-extended.

The problem is with the overall efficiency: can the heat be utilized effectively. Bigger (100 MW+) plants can invest more to the heat utilization, even produce more electricity with combined cycle, and thus exceed 60% electrical efficiency. But the advantage with distributed power production comes from local possibilities. If you install a fuel cell in a location that has a need for high (or low) grade heat, in approximately 100kW range, your overall efficiency is very very good. The tendency is even more so that it's better to install it to a place that needs heat, instead of a place that produces gas. Of course sometimes these can be combined (waste water treatment plants for example).

Re:Lies (1)

oddjob1244 (1179491) | about 2 years ago | (#39745289)

That's a bit like me building a big garage, installing a big-ass natural gas generator and saying my building returns power to the grid.

LEED doesn't recognize natural gas, coal, or large-impact hydro (like Hoover Dam) as sources of renewable energy. So while you could still LEED certify you're building with a natural gas harvester, or a coal fired power plant, or an oil rig (assuming the oil rig isn't movable and has a mailing address per the LEED minimum project requirements), you will have to do so without achieving the "On-site renewable energy" credit.

Also that being said, LEED projects are based on a theoretical energy modeling protocol that is full of holes and easily gamed. Per TFA the building hasn't even opened yet. I'd like to see an article after a year of operation stating the building does actually produce more energy than it consumes or if the energy model was full of crap and this is just a bunch of marketing hyperbole for the architect.

"produces more energy than it consumes" (4, Insightful)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#39744403)

Is meaningless, or at least misleading. A coal power station produces more energy than it consumes. If that's intrinsically green, then we should be building more coal power stations.

Re:"produces more energy than it consumes" (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39744551)

The only thing producing more energy than it consumes is a perpetuum mobile.

Re:"produces more energy than it consumes" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744685)

Is meaningless, or at least misleading. A coal power station produces more energy than it consumes. If that's intrinsically green, then we should be building more coal power stations.

Would you want a coal power station in your office or house? Solar, wind generators, and a Bloom Box are a hell of a lot cleaner.
And they don't require us to blow up Appalachian Mountains [appvoices.org] in the process.

NASA a Space/Aeronautics Administration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744511)

No, we don't do Space flight, we

Build Green Buildings, ans
Lie about Global Warming

American Exceptionalism at creating a cock up.

Cognitive Dissonance (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#39744515)

Considering all the posts complaining about, "Why is NASA fooling with this "green" hippie bullshit", I just noticed the following headline on another site,

Apple Vows to Build '100% Renewable Energy' Data Center

Now watch the quick 180 about how "innovative" and "forward-thinking" it is that Apple is working toward sustainability from many of the same people who were criticizing NASA's green initiative.

More political than Green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39744725)

NASA is far more interested in a Green image than any green practices. The EV parking spaces they have installed are filled with Lexii because some genious decided that if govt money can't buy personal gas, then it shouldn't buy personal electricity which is 90% cheaper and actually provides positive externalities. So, like most NASA programs, money was spent for no benefit to the future...unless you're a manager who likes your new found reserved ('cause its empty) parking space.

Not that impressive (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 2 years ago | (#39744735)

The high-tech complex produces more energy than it consumes...

Pfft. Big deal. This applies to all coal fire plants as well.

Re:Not that impressive (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#39745221)

I think you'll find that a coal fire plant consumes a lot more energy than it produces and that this energy intake is in the form of, well, coal.

If it didn't, we wouldn't need the coal, because we'd have just invented perpetual energy.

leed is sort of a loaded (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 years ago | (#39744907)

standard. most buildings will qualify for leed silver by just being near train stations/public transportation outlets and ensuring they have adequate fluorescent lighting and recycling services for paper.

its also saying nothing of its inhabitants. The building I work in still has a 4 story parking garage despite its overwhelmingly generous access to several forms of public transportation. And despite a vigorous recycling program, I still see styrofoam in the kitchen, lots of disposable plates, and computers that run constantly at unattended desks despite ACPI having been a decades old standard.

What does all this have to do with aeronautics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39745185)

so we scrapped the moon project, kiss Mars goodbye
Now we're in the building business
national aeronautics ans space administration? hardly .. more like housing admin

fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39745203)

Here we go more from people who believe in fairy tale green religions. The Bible is supposedly fake but not this stuff?

And it only cost $5T (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 2 years ago | (#39745229)

This "Green" building will cost 10x more to run and maintain.

When Obama took office, the debt was $10.6 Trillion. It is now $15.6 Trillion [cnsnews.com]. The spending from both parties must stop.

Here is a video from 2011 where the GSA Administrator said their purchase of Chevy Volts would save the government millions [youtube.com]
Disclosure: I have a vested interest in cold fusion. (at least my kids and grandkids do..)

Why pay for certification? (1)

acklenx (646834) | about 2 years ago | (#39745253)

Isn't it good enough to have an energy efficient, low waste building near public transportation, and all the other things that do (and don't) come with being LEED certified? Why pay for a certification? Does that somehow make it more efficient? Sure if you've got money to burn and like shiny stickers, or if you thing that shiny sticker will help you make more money (or recoup your cost) or whatever reason you want to spend your money on the certification - go for it. But don't use my money. Build a good building yes, but there is no need for a sticker. NASA is for now, funded by my tax dollars, and this is how they want to use my money? Shame on them.

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