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Food & Wine

Humble shortbread cookie appears around the world, but with local twists

Humble shortbread cookie appears around the world, but with local twists


Blanche Shaheen/Special to the Town Crier
Ghraybeh shortbread cookies use sweet-tasting ghee in lieu of butter.

 

When Americans think of the shortbread cookie, they often imagine the traditional Scottish cookies, shaped like oblong rectangles and ...

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Your Health

CSA connects families with fresh, nutritious food

CSA connects families with fresh, nutritious food


Courtesy of Community Services Organization
CSA staff load groceries to take to Castro Elementary School as part of a new outreach program for children and families enrolled in the free and reduced lunch programs at Castro and Mistral schools.

Maureen...

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Your Home

Healing art: Restoration 'doctor' preserves damaged objects

Healing art: Restoration 'doctor' preserves damaged objects


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Art restorer Rho Brown performs delicate preservation work in her Los Altos studio, above. Once fully restored, below left, it’s difficult to tell which cherub was previously missing its head. Brown’s studio conta...

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On The Road

American muscle in the modern age: Bolting to Blackhawk in the Chrysler 300S

American muscle in the modern age: Bolting to Blackhawk in the Chrysler 300S


Photo by Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier; Bottom Right Photo courtesy of Chrysler
The Andersons recently drove the new Chrysler 300S to Danville’s Blackhawk Museum, where they saw “The Spirit of the Old West” exhibition.

 

When you have a p...

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Senior Lifestyles

Local pianist performs, volunteers and finds 'keys' to a good life

Local pianist performs, volunteers and finds 'keys' to a good life


RAMYA KRISHNA/TOWN CRIER
Doreta Strotman performs the classics with her signature jazz-style improvisations at Los Altos Grill Sunday evenings. The Mountain View resident has been playing since the age of 4.

Sunday evenings, Doreta Strotman’s job is to...

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Wedding To Remember

Ring options on Main Street range from traditional to unorthodox

Ring options on Main Street range from traditional to unorthodox


 

With nine fine-jewelry retailers concentrated along the Main Street corridor, downtown Los Altos offers a wealth of options for engagement and wedding ring shoppers. From one end of Main to the other, the choices range from the traditional to t...

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Your Kids

Living Classroom grows lessons for next-gen science standards

Living Classroom grows lessons for next-gen science standards


 

Providing local students with a tangible outdoor learning experience, the Living Classroom program aims to support a new generation of students who are excited about the environment.

The Living Classroom serves 9,000 students locally in the Los ...

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Back to School

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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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