NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center building chosen as Green Globes Project of the Year

The exterior of Building 4221 on Marshall Space Flight Center’s campus in Huntsville. Photo by NASA/Fred Deaton.

The Green Building Initiative announced yesterday that it has named NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center Building 4221 as its 2020 Green Globes Project of the Year. The building earned a Three Green Globes rating for new construction, which indicates that the building has achieved 70-84% success in resource efficiency, reducing environmental impacts and improving occupant wellness.

The five-story glass-and-steel building was designed and built with sustainability in mind. It has a customized stormwater management plan, cistern and bioswales, reducing runoff and capturing stormwater. That is used for irrigation on the property. Building 4221 also has highly reflective materials and a 120kW solar array on its roof, providing onsite renewable energy. Energy usage is reduced through an improved thermal envelope, high-efficiency glazing and exterior shading. Sunshades not only provide shade during summer months, but also capture solar heat during the winter months.

Inside the building promotes health and wellness through a green cleaning program, temperature and humidity sensors and daylighting of 94% of occupied space. The central atrium and lobby area provides views of green spaces and has a grand stairway. The building provides offices and workspace for about 440 team members supporting Marshall’s Human Exploration Development & Operations Office, its Science & Technology Office and the NASA Engineering & Safety Center — all of them working to put boots on the Moon and prepare for human exploration of Mars.

Building 4221 was designed by Thomas Miller & Partners of Nashville and constructed by Yates Construction of Mississippi. The Army Corps of Engineers oversaw the contract process and NASA provided construction management and inspection services.

Some 440 Marshall team members are housed in Building 4221, working to return Americans to the Moon and beyond. Photo by NASA/Fred Deaton

Material selection was made with carbon emissions in mind, with a quarter of all building materials being transported less than 500 miles to the project. During construction, 78% of onsite construction waste was diverted from landfills and 23% of the construction materials contained recycled content. Ninety-two percent of the wood used on the project came from FSC-Certified forests.

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“The use of an inclusive and proactive integrated design team approach proved extremely successful in implementing creative and effective sustainability initiatives,” said Vicki Worden, GBI president and CEO. “The Green Globes criteria encourages incorporating sustainability goals into the conversation early with a variety of disciplines, which TM Partners clearly demonstrated.”

Building 4221 is the ninth LEED-certified facility at Marshall. It is part of the 4200 complex, which is part of NASA’s “repair-by-replacement” plan, tearing down costly aging structures and replacing them with new facilities that have measurable health, safety and cost benefits. Building 4221 is expected to save more than 16% of total operational costs of its predecessor.

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