A Blueprint for Greener Building
Completed in 2011, the Propellants North Administrative and Maintenance Facility was constructed to consolidate and replace three aging buildings at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The 11,000-square-foot facility includes a maintenance shop, cryogenic fuel transfer equipment, and a number of office and meeting spaces for the NASA managers, mechanics, and technicians working on spacecraft refueling programs.
NASA administrators, along with project architects and engineers, wanted to make sure that the building itself mirrored the high-tech work that it would one day house. In fact, the new facility will become the blueprint for future environmentally responsible NASA projects.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Designed as a ‘zero energy’ facility, the building, along with its various components and sub-systems, actually produced more energy than it consumes each day. This is accomplished through a number of innovative products and materials, as well as common sense.
The roof of the facility features a solar panel array to generate electricity for the building, and a solar panel covered canopy in the nearby parking lot contributes, while also providing a charging station for employees with electric and hybrid cars. A 7,500 gallon rainwater storage tank toward the back of the lot provides non-treated water for the toilets and irrigation systems on site.
Internal and external temperatures, sunlight levels, CO² concentration, and more are constantly monitored, and HVAC, electrical, and lighting systems are adjusted accordingly to provide optimum environmental conditions.
The project was also completed with an eye toward resource conservation. The subbase was formed using the waste concrete from the previously demolished buildings, and, instead of new organic mulch, crushed rock from the old space shuttle crawler paths was used for landscaping.
In total, more than 98 percent of all waste during construction, totaling 664 tons, was diverted from landfill disposal.
The building envelope was constructed using Thermomass System NC, providing the edge-to-edge insulation and minimal energy transfer necessary to allow the building’s advanced air conditioning systems to function optimally. Thermomass insulated walls also allowed for a number of finish options for the interior office spaces while also remaining durable enough to stand up to the rigors of a high tech maintenance facility.