New NASA lab earns LEED Gold certification

On Jan. 11, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the new Measurement Systems Laboratory (MSL) located at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (LEED-NC) Gold certification. This 5-story, 175,000-gross-square-foot facility delivered by GSA is a cutting-edge and sustainable lab designed to perform research and development in direct support of NASA’s mission in space exploration, science, and aeronautics.

“We are proud to attain Gold certification for our new lab. Not only will the facility provide innovative research that will advance NASA missions for the benefit of humankind, we are also ensuring the health of our planet through a building that adheres to high environmental standards,” said Clayton Turner, Director of NASA’s Langley Research Center.

LEED is the largest green building rating system in the world and provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. The program is designed to save operating and maintenance costs, improve building efficiency, lower carbon emissions, address climate changes and create healthier places for tenants and visitors.

The LEED Gold certification for MSL was accomplished through a collaborative process between GSA, NASA, architectural/engineering firm AECOM, project/construction manager Hill International, and general contractor W.M. Jordan Company.

The MSL project’s sustainable highlights include:

New NASA lab earns LEED Gold certification
Photo courtesy: ©️2021 Robb Williamson/AECOM
  • Reduced water usage by over 31% through low-flow and flush fixtures; additionally no irrigation was necessary for the native landscaping.
  • Reduced stormwater runoff through urban bioretention planters.
  • Saved two on-site mature London planetrees through conservation efforts.
  • Executed enhanced commissioning, along with measurement and verification, with increased ventilation to achieve outstanding mechanical system performance with 28% energy cost savings.
  • Diverted 94% of on-site construction waste from landfills.
  • Sourced 63% of regional materials within 500 miles of the project site.
  • Utilized 34% of building materials manufactured from recycled materials.
  • Maximized natural daylight and low workstation heights to filter daylight into the core open work areas.
  • Designated 5% of parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Established a purchase agreement for green/renewable power.

LEED also acknowledged the new lab for being centrally placed on NASA Langley’s campus, located near a fitness center, cafeteria, health clinic, credit union and childcare.

GSA ensures sustainable strategies are considered in all GSA building projects. GSA will continue to conserve energy and water, to utilize ecological systems and enhance the natural environment while offering safe and healthy buildings for our client agencies.


This article is part of the Spring issue of the FOCUS newsletter. Please visit the Focus Newsletter page to read our newsletter.

Last Reviewed: 2022-03-28