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Langley Wins Two Blue Marble Awards
By: Jim Hodges

Efforts at demolishing eight structures and erecting the NASA Langley Headquarters Building drew praise and two awards in a ceremony Tuesday at the Reid Conference Center.

The team involved in taking down four out-of-date wind tunnels and four other structures that were removed to prepare for construction of the Integrated Engineering Services Building received the NASA Environmental Quality Award, also called a "Blue Marble Award." And the group that headed up the Headquarters Building was given the NASA Excellence in Energy and Water Management Award.

"One of the things about a Blue Marble Award is that it's hard to get one," said Olga Dominguez, environmental executive and assistant administrator for the Office of Strategic Infrastructure at NASA headquarters. "That Langley gets two is a testament to the work that you are doing. It's wonderful to see how Langley, over the past 5-6 years, has kind of blossomed."

Blue Marble Awards.
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The Blue Marble Award trophy is inspired by the iconic photo of Earth taken by astronauts aboard Apollo 17 in 1972. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

There were 30 nominations for the three Blue Marble Award categories. Langley was nominated seven times.

That it won the two group awards "shows that this place works as a team," said James Leatherwood, director of the Environmental Management Division, who lauded the work done to earn the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum certification for the headquarters building.

"It's a template, I believe, for the rest of the NASA agency," said Leatherwood. "It uses, and this is impressive, 31.5 percent less energy than a comparable new office standard and 75 percent less than the average Langley office building. It uses 41 percent less water."

The headquarters building is expected to save $2.5 million per year in operations and maintenance costs.

"That's just amazing," Leatherwood said. "It's a model for the agency."

Receiving certificates and Blue Marble challenge coins for the Environmental Quality Award were: George Finelli (director of Center Operations), Chris Mouring (team lead), Cheryl Allen, Bruce Bishop, Caroline Diehl, Mary Gainer, Bryan Haas, Rodney Harris, Alan Henderson, Sherry Johnson, Kristen Poultney, Tom Quenville and Skip Schroeder.

As team lead, Mouring received the Blue Marble Award, a trophy fashioned after the iconic "Blue Marble" snapshot taken of Earth from space by Apollo 17 astronauts on Dec. 7, 1972.

The citation read: "Recognized for effectively reducing the center's environmental footprint through sustainability based planning and demolition: 'Out with the Old, In with the Green.' "

That wind tunnel demolition generated 2.1 million pounds of waste and debris, of which 95 percent was recycled; 22 million pounds of recycled steel; 1.560 million pounds of recycled metals other than steel; and 36 million pounds of concrete, 90 percent of which was recycled.

Demolition to make way for the Integrated Engineer Services Building included 4.699 million pounds of debris, of which 99 percent was recycled; 874,000 pounds of steel (95 percent recycled); 31,500 pounds of metal other than steel (99 percent recycled) and 7.8 million pounds of concrete (90 percent recycled).

The NASA Excellence in Energy and Water Management Award went to the New Town Phase I (headquarters building) Design-Build team: Langley's Finelli, Quenville and Bishop and contractors Jim Beckett, Cathy Castiglione, Tony Dell'Arciprete, Ginny Dyston, Ron Eisenberg, Lauren Ford, Dennis Hunter, Ken Jordan, Tom Lyman, Bill McGhee, John Morrell, Eric Murphy, Dana Pomeroy, Ted Reffner, Chris Reilly, Ron Runnion, Jennifer Silkensen, Steve Smith, Tony Teti, Jamie Tilghman, Karen Trimbach, Khrysti Uhrin, Suyzanne Verzella, Ed Weaver, Mark Woodburn and Andy Woodring.

The citation read: "Recognized for the success and environmental innovation of the Design/Build Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified Platinum Building Project, New Town."

The team approach "is the way it's going to be for the future," Leatherwood said. "It's no longer just the environmental shop. It's everybody working together to make the program more effective."

In addition, the Cultural Materials Research team was cited for its support in retaining the history from the demolished buildings. Its members are Mary Gainor (team lead), Caroline Diehl, Joe Chambers, Stacey Jones, James Baldwin, Matt Robinson, Cutter Sydnor and David Dutton.

The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Rob Wyman