LEED EB O+M and Sustainability Improvements at Building E-109, Wallops Flight Facility, VA
RS&H helped NASA Wallops Flight Facility complete it’s first-ever LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance project and document compliance with Federal Guiding Principles for High Performance and Sustainable Existing Buildings.
The project implemented dozens of improvements to site, water, energy, materials and indoor environmental management, earning the “Silver” level of LEED O+M certification. It also documented compliance with 92% of the federal High Performance and Sustainable Existing Buildings Guiding Principles using the Sustainable Buildings Module within ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
Sustainability improvements at E-109 demonstrate the capacity of LEED and RCx to drive sustainability performance at federal facilities.
Located on the eastern shore of Virginia, Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) is a center for NASA’s suborbital space and earth science research programs. Building E-109 is a multi-functional 52,779 square foot, two-story building. Constructed in 2007, it provides office, lab, and machine shop facilities for several technical departments. RS&H worked closely with WFF staff to document operations, develop new policies, identify and implement cost-saving projects, and monitor performance of the building.
- WFF’s proximity to sensitive coastal ecosystems compels reduced impact to surroundings. Over 25% of the site area is dedicated to native or adapted plants, due to the building’s large vegetated courtyard. A stormwater management plan leverages landscaping to mitigate 15% of stormwater runoff.
- Stewardship of water resources is a regional priority. Native vegetation has facilitated elimination of water use outside the building. Inside, recently-installed low-flow plumbing fixtures achieved a 21% water use reduction relative to codes.
- The federal government has set aggressive energy efficiency goals that E-109 is helping NASA achieve. Energy use has been reduced 11% since 2009 in the building, not including recent upgrades to WFF’s district heating plant. As a result, E-109’s energy performance ranks in the 82% percentile for similar facilities.
- The project sought to improve performance further through Retro-commissioning. RCx optimizes the performance of an existing facility’s systems. The process identified actions estimated to reduce energy use at E-109 by an additional 18%. These measures, focused on enhancing building automation, lighting and weatherization, could cut expenditures by nearly $75,000 annually and pay for themselves in less than a year.
- The building’s occupants are also shrinking carbon NASA’s footprint. Through telecommuting, carpooling and fuel-efficient vehicles, they are reducing conventional commuting trips by 25%, conserving fuel and reducing air and water pollution.