Tue08042015

News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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NASA incorporates space technology in new energy-efficient buildings

Photo Courtesy Of Nasa Ames An artist's rendering depicts NASA's Sustainability Base, the nearly completed state-of-the-art office building at Moffett Field that fuses space technology with architectural design to maximize energy efficiency and reduce water consumption.

With just a month to go before construction ends on NASA’s Sustainability Base, workers are testing the state-of-the-art technology systems that last year earned the project the U.S. General Services Administration’s Real Property Award in the green innovation category.

Designed by William McDonough + Partners and currently under construction at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, the 50,000-square-foot office building features energy-producing and energy-efficient systems that comply with President Barack Obama’s executive order for zero-net energy consumption in federal buildings by 2030.

The GSA’s innovation award recognizes ideas that have potential to transform the federal community’s overall energy and environmental performance,

The new building, part of NASA’s Renovation by Replacement program, will provide office space for approximately 225 civil servants, according to Steve Zornetzer, NASA Ames associate director. The project replaces 75,000 square feet of antiquated office space in several small buildings and the wind tunnel, which have been demolished.

From the cement and steel exterior to the indoor carpeting, all construction components used for the Sustainability Base are recyclable and nontoxic.

“This is very important to us – everything in this building is recyclable,” Zornetzer said.

Technology systems include photovoltaic roofs for power generation, geothermal wells for cooling and heating, optimized natural lighting and operable glazed floor-to-ceiling windows.

The two-story, two-winged building’s curved design conforms to the research park’s circular perimeter.

“The design and position of the building allows maximum exposure of the roof to the sun to optimize sunlight,” Zornetzer said. “The electric (systems) will produce more energy than the building consumes.”

Not only is the building designed to consume less energy, but the roof’s solar system will provide 30-40 percent of what the building needs, and a second generation of solid-oxide-hydrogen fuel cells called Bloom Boxes, produced by Sunnyvale-based Bloom Energy, will be site tested. Zornetzer said he expects the cells to put Ames’ power grid over the top.

“They produce much higher energy and they’re more compact,” he said. “That fuel cell will produce twice as much energy as the building needs.”

But from NASA’s space technology itself comes the systems that will purify greywater and the software components and modules that control Sustainability Base’s intelligent adaptive control system, which senses all workers’ needs, including cooling, lighting and heat for maximum efficiency.

“It responds to individual occupants,” Zornetzer said of the system’s intelligence. “It learns from its performance and it learns to improve its decision-making.”

Not only can the system predict tomorrow’s weather and adjust the building’s temperature controls that include remotely operated window shades, but the system can also regulate a room’s temperature knowing that 15 people are scheduled there for a conference at 10 a.m., Zornetzer said.

In addition to a 6,000-gallon underground tank that will collect rainwater for irrigation, Sustainability Base will have a water-purifying system originally developed for the International Space Station. Zornetzer said the expanded system diverts shower and sink runoff from entering the Bay to use for outside irrigation.

“We’ve planted native plants that don’t require a lot of watering,” he said. “But when we do need to irrigate, we will be using the greywater rather than wasting drinking and potable water.”

Sustainability Base is also a candidate for platinum-certified status from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, but the project could have gone in an entirely different direction when NASA initially approved a different building design.

“Once we started (working) with the design, I decided the original design was not what we should be doing,” Zornetzer said.

Zornetzer contacted William McDonough, who authored Cradle to Cradle guidelines, a multiattribute eco-label that assesses a product’s safety to humans and the environment and design for future life cycles.

“He’s a tremendous champion of sustainable design,” Zornetzer said.

And with workers set to occupy Sustainable Base in September and a dedication ceremony tentatively scheduled for November, all systems are a go for testing.

“So far, so good,” Zornetzer said.

For more information, visit www.arc.nasa.gov.

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