NASA Space-Flight Center Puts Home Planet First

Greenbelt, Md. — NASA broke ground on a $56 million eco-friendly Exploration Sciences Building at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center here.

The 265,500-square-foot research-laboratory and office building, which is registered for LEED Silver certification, will house personnel from the astrophysics and solar systems exploration divisions and the office of the directorate.

The three-story building designed by Philadelphia architectural and engineering firm EwingCole will feature energy-efficiency and water-conservation measures to reduce the facility’s resource consumption and lower operational costs and emissions. The project will also incorporate recycled-content construction materials to reduce the environmental impact of the development and low-VOC interior materials, adhesives, sealants, paints and carpeting to enhance air quality.

In 2006, NASA became one of more than 15 federal agencies to sign a memorandum of understanding that committed signatories to achieve LEED-certification for all major new construction projects. While NASA has mandated that agency projects conform to LEED Silver standards at a minimum, it has adopted an informal policy of pursuing LEED Gold certification, officials say.

The EwingCole facility design is defined by its flexible layout that provides collaborative research and office space configured to coordinate with the agency’s organizational structure and functional demands, officials say. Building thoroughfares are designed to optimize effective and efficient linkage between research and office spaces, such as chemistry and electronics laboratories, to emphasize, promote and facilitate interactions among researchers and staff.

Accommodating approximately 500 scientists, researchers and staff, the exploration-sciences building represents the first phase of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s development master plan to unify GSFC’s currently divided east and west campuses. Due for completion in 2009, the new eco-friendly building will anchor NASA’s new pedestrian-friendly earth- and space-science research campus, officials say.

Goddard Space Flight Center

EwingCole Architects

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