Press Release

Marshall Center Engineering Facility Attains Leed(R) Gold Certification

By SpaceRef Editor
February 7, 2010
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design has awarded its LEED(R) Gold certification to Building 4601, an engineering facility at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — recognizing the standard of excellence set by the state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facility.

The building, which opened in June 2009, was designed and built according to efficient energy and water principles, making it eligible for registration with the building council. LEED certification is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable structures.

The Marshall Center previously earned LEED Silver Certification for Building 4600, the first facility in its engineering complex, which opened in 2005. It was the first LEED-certified facility built by NASA.

The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction — “Certified,” “Silver,” “Gold” and “Platinum” — which correspond to a specified number of credits accrued in five environmentally conscious design categories: sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; and indoor environmental quality.

Nelson Olinger, project manager for facilities design and construction in Marshall’s Facilities Engineering Office, said the process of designing and constructing a truly “green” engineering facility to earn those rating system credits required an extensive level of planning and attention throughout the building design and construction process.

“Certification hinged on the environmental ‘footprint’ of the facility, as well as the reduced energy consumption of the building once it was completed,” Olinger said. “We also were assessed on how well we used and cared for the land on which the property sits, and on health and safety qualities inside the structure: quality of air, use of natural light, noise levels and ergonomics.

“We paid strict attention to environmental issues even after the building itself was completed,” he added. “We carefully selected the materials we used inside — down to the carpets, paint and furniture. We even use LEED-compliant cleaning supplies.”

Building 4601 is the second completed facility in the Marshall engineering complex, southwest of the intersection of Rideout and Martin roads. The building primarily is home to engineers in two Marshall organizations: the Materials and Processes Laboratory and the Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department. Researchers there are developing next-generation launch vehicle technologies to prepare the way for future space exploration missions. They also support NASA’s far-reaching science missions, space shuttle propulsion systems and hardware and science aboard the International Space Station.

Building 4602, now under construction, is scheduled for completion and will be submitted for LEED certification in November 2010. The engineering complex is part of Marshall’s planned Capital Improvement Program. The construction project is managed by the Facilities Engineering Office, part of Marshall’s Office of Center Operations.

For more information about the U.S. Green Building Council, visit:

For more information about the work of the Marshall Center, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.