Green building: Spaceport America helps promote green building for Earth today, space tomorrow

green building spaceport America
Research conducted for space flight has helped develop technological advances, including green building techniques. Photo Courtesy of NASA

I got a little nostalgic last week as I watched the space shuttle land after its final mission from my Picacho Mountain office here in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The space race was a huge deal for me as a child. I remember so clearly following the Apollo space missions that began when I was just 12 years old. My friends and I would gather around the radio or television with great excitement just to experience space travel vicariously through the astronauts.

It’s a little sad that times have changed and space shuttle lunches don’t gen erate the excitement they once did. It’s rare these days that you encounter a young person who aspires to be an astronaut other than Buzz Lightyear.

Since it’s so easy to for get the importance of the space program, I thought it would be great this month to take a look at some of the past, present and future ways that space research can promote green building and help us live greener lives.

The past

Unless you work for NASA or are a space enthusiast, you might not be aware that there are many great technological advances that have come from space-related research.

Many things that we come into contact with in our daily lives came as a result of research done for space travel or in space.

garbage disposal
The Garbage disposal is just one of the many green building technologies that came to us as a result of research done in space.

Dustbusters, home security systems, smoke detectors, flat panel televisions and trash compactors are just a few examples of space-based technologies we use in our homes every day.

More importantly, space research has been instrumental in helping us identify, under stand and track global warming and environ mental changes.

NASA was also a pioneer in photovoltaic (solar) power systems for spacecraft application. That technology is also being applied in residential and commercial solar applications here on earth.

The present

Virgin Galactic Hangar ConstructionIf you know me, you probably know that I am a huge advocate for Spaceport America. I don’t have any direct personal stake in the success or failure of the spaceport, however, I believe that it will be a great thing for Las Cruces and for green building as well.

The Las Cruces area has long been known for the scientific research that is done here. We have an outstanding university, military test facilities and some great commercial technology companies that are all based here.

Spaceport America will further cement Las Cruces’ standing as a leader in science and technology.

Spaceport America is also holding true to New Mexico’s long-standing commitment to science, technology and protecting the environment. The spaceport is being built to meet the U.S. Build Green Council’s LEED gold certification standards.

According to Wayne Savage, who chairs the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce’s Commercial Space Committee, both the spaceport as well as the anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic, are committed to building an environmentally friendly facility.

One of the most exciting green building technologies the spaceport designers have included is a geothermal based heating and cooling system. This system uses cement tubes that draw fresh air from outside through the ground to take advantage of the Earth’s core temperature to heat and cool the air.

Architects and planners worked very hard to conceive and implement a design for the spaceport facility that will blend with the natural landscape and preserve the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail views.

The spaceport will also include reduced water-flow fixtures, a waste water reuse system, low energy light fixtures, as well as many other green features.

The future

I see Spaceport America as more than just a place for the wealthy to enjoy space travel. It is the future of space research and technological advances.

Virgin Galactic and its owner Richard Branson have demonstrated a commitment to preserving the environment. Their mission statement includes a strong focus on using space exploration as a way to solve environ mental problems here on Earth and continue green technology development.

I am excited to see what green technology will come from research done right here at our doorstep.

I might be a bit sad as I bid farewell to the NASA’s shuttle program, but I am excited to find out what great technologies will be coming to us soon as a result of commercial space research.

Contact Picacho Mountain today at 575-523-2500 for more information on building your energy-efficient, green home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Custom Estate Homes, Patio Homes, Town Homes, and Neighborhood Retail.

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