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Climate Research Spurred By Green Design of Supercomputing Center

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Photo courtesy of H+L Architecture
The LEED-Gold design emphasizes low-energy system performance while showcasing unique features of the building.
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2012 Best Project

Green Projects Category

NCAR Wyoming Supercomputing Center


The Cheyenne, Wyo.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research aims to increase the scientific understanding of climate change, severe weather, air quality and other atmospheric science and geoscience topics. The 153,000-sq-ft facility hosts one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, consisting of more than 100,000 processors positioned across a carefully controlled 24,000-sq-ft area. It is 20 times more powerful than the previous NCAR main computer.

To house it securely, the project team built a 10-ft-deep subfloor, compared with the previous 28-in. space, to allow more room for wiring and cooling. The facility also contains a premier data storage and archive facility to hold irreplaceable historical climate records and other information.

The team built a facility with the smallest possible carbon footprint. The LEED-Gold design emphasizes low-energy system performance while showcasing features that enhance earth stewardship. The new facility is modular, scalable and upgradable while providing functionality, comfort and safety for occupants and visitors.

The center was developed in partnership with the University of Wyoming, the state of Wyoming, Cheyenne LEADS, the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power.

Key Players

Owner: University Corp. for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo.

Architect: H+L Architecture, Denver

General Contractor: Saunders Construction Inc., Centennial, Colo.

Structural Engineer: Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers, Lakewood, Colo.

Mechanical Engineer: Rumsey Engineers, Oakland, Calif.

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: The RMH Group, Lakewood, Colo.


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