NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center needed a larger and more efficient information technology facility. Now the center has one that also is recognized as an environmentally sustainable building.
The $8.8 million construction project at the center's Edwards Air Force Base campus doubled the size of the 28-year-old Data Analysis Facility. The result is a more than 44,000-square-foot combined structure referred to as the Consolidated Information Technology Center, or CITC.
The CITC was recently certified to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, silver standard. The CITC became Dryden's first LEED-certified building in October 2013. NASA requires all of its major new buildings to be certified to the LEED silver standard or higher.
The LEED standard allows for certification at the silver, gold, and platinum levels. The designation recognizes the sustainability of the construction as determined by the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standard for new construction.
The CITC was occupied in August 2012. Key features that contributed to the silver designation included making Dryden's flight research mission more sustainable by reducing long-term costs of facility operation, minimizing natural environment impacts and designing work spaces to maximize productivity, said Dryden's energy manager Dan Mullen.
Included in that sustainability equation is a 20 percent more energy-efficient building compared to standard construction, Mullen explained. The building was also designed to use 50 percent less water for building processes and landscaping compared to a facility using standard design and construction practices.
Other elements included the recycling of 89 percent of demolition and construction debris to avoid using landfills and incinerators, he said. In addition, 20 percent of the construction materials were recycled and 75 percent of the project area was landscaped to simulate natural habitat for a total of 22,000 square feet of partially vegetated open space.
Construction materials such as adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, carpet and wood products were selected to maintain better indoor air quality and reduce impact to the environment, Mullen said.
The primary driver for the CITC construction project was to provide a more reliable data center, replacing nearly three-decade-old heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and electrical infrastructure.
Dryden’s new data center also is categorized as a Tier 3 facility, which means that maintenance activities on electrical and HVAC equipment can occur without requiring any shutdown of data center computing. Half of the uninterrupted power supplies and HVAC systems supporting the data center can be shut down completely for maintenance, with the data center continuing to operate at full capacity.
“The energy-efficient Tier-3 CITC infrastructure has allowed Dryden to reduce information technology operations and maintenance costs while increasing delivered value to the Dryden community,” said Dryden’s Chief Information Officer Larry Freudinger. “We have been able to consolidate several smaller data centers into a single new facility that in its first year of operation has demonstrated uptime in excess of 99.9 percent.”
The CITC transition, however, is not yet complete. There is ongoing effort to renovate vacated areas of the old data center and enable additional consolidation of personnel and IT equipment. The reduced and consolidated physical footprint of IT storage, staging and office space is energy efficient and environmentally responsible, Freudinger said.
Southwestern Dakotah, Inc. of Tucson, Ariz., built the CITC. The Development One, Inc. architectural firm of Santa Ana, Calif. designed the CITC and the new Facility Support Center. T. Simons Construction of Nipomo, Calif. continues work under a $650,000 contract to complete the renovation work in the former Data Analysis Facility half of the building, said Gemma Flores, project manager for the CITC construction and the recently completed Facility Support Center.
The Facility Support Center is an entirely new 38,000 square foot building expected to meet the LEED Platinum standard. Occupancy of that $11.2 million effort is expected in 2014.
Jay Levine, editor, the X-Press
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center