Best Green Building

Photo courtesy Hill International
The project earned LEED Platinum certification.

For the first new building to be constructed at the National Aeronatics & Space Administration's 350-acre Langley campus in nearly 50 years, the agency aimed for the highest green standard for its modern new research facility.

The $26-million, three-story headquarters, built via design-build, accommodates up to 260 employees and provides high-tech conference facilities. The 79,000-sq-ft project was awarded a LEED-NC version 2.2 Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council in June.

James Beckett, with Hill International, says the project introduced many new materials and technologies to NASA's Langley campus.

“The methods for maintaining their current buildings and maintaining a new building with the latest equipment and design necessary to achieve LEED Platinum are very different,” Beckett says. “Managing expectations and confirming that NASA performance requirements were met required close attention to the details.”

The design-build team of Whiting-Turner and Cooper Carry brought numerous ideas for achieving a high level of sustainability to the project, Beckett says.

Some of the project's green features include landscaping that requires no irrigation; a vegetated roof that also has photovoltaics on the penthouse section; a daylighting strategy that includes automatic shading devices; and an energy-efficient ground-source heating and cooling system.

The installation of the HVAC system “required extensive collaboration with multiple trades and vendors and multiple pre-installation meetings,” Beckett says.

The project was delivered on time despite having to accommodate three scope additions.


Owner: National Aeronautics & Space Administration, Hampton, Va.

Contractor: Whiting-Turner, Towson, Md.

Construction Manager: Hill International, Marlton, N.J.

Architect: AECOM, Arlington, Va.

Civil Engineer: PBS&J, Newport News, Va.

Structural Engineer: Structura Inc., Rockville, Md.

MEP Engineer: H.F. Lenz Co., Johnstown, Pa.

Submitted by:

Hill International