Sustainability Base at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley is scheduled to be completed in July, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. The federal government has named the facility its green building of 2011.
Engineers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration used techniques developed for space travel to minimize water usage. Water drained from showers and sinks will be treated and recycled for toilets, allowing the building to consume 90 percent less drinkable water than others of its size.
Along with an array of solar panels, a fuel cell outside the building generates electrical power from natural gas. Steven Zornetzer, the associate director at Ames, said the building may switch to methane from landfills.
"Buildings of the future could actually produce more energy than they use and reverse the trend of being a big, sucking drain without compromising anything," Zornetzer said.