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Food & Wine

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients


photo Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Aged coffee beans join beer in Modern Times’ bourbon barrel stout.

Dark beers like stout highlight flavors reminiscent of coffee and chocolate, resulting in a great canvas for brewers to blend nontraditional in...

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Your Health

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options


Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Shovels in hand, Dr. Peter Fung, from left, El Camino Healthcare District board chairman; Russ Satake, El Camino Hospital Foundation board chairman; donors Donna and John Shoemaker; State Sen. Jerry Hill; and Assemblyman Rich ...

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Your Home

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides  seasonal decorating service

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides seasonal decorating service


Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Amy Fischer of Spectrum Interior Design decorated Los Altos resident Katie Beers’ living room for the holidays last week.

Don’t worry if you have no time to shop for unique holiday decor, decorate Christma...

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On The Road

The Yellowstone experience

The Yellowstone experience


Photos by Gary Anderson/special to the Town Crier
The Andersons’ recent bus tour included stops at Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful Geyser.

With winter approaching, it’s a good time to start planning next summer’s fa...

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Senior Lifestyles

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Members of the ensemble rehearse at Blach Intermediate School.

Something special happens Wednesday nights at Blach Intermediate School. Seventy or so people ranging in age from 18 to 85, of varied backgroun...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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NASA incorporates space technology in new energy-efficient buildings

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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