Given the building’s environmental mission, it seems only fitting that environmentally friendly products would be utilized for the construction of the new $70 million NCAR – Wyoming Super Computing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne, WY. Completed in October 2012, the 170,000 sq. ft. building was awarded a LEED Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council and features on its exterior a range of metal construction products fabricated and installed by Commerce City, CO-based Douglass Colony.
NWSC provides advanced computing capabilities to scientists from across the U.S. who are engaged in the study of weather, oceanography, air pollution, climate, space weather, energy production, seismology, carbon sequestration, computational science, and other areas pertaining to the Earth system. The supercenter includes a variety of high-performance supercomputing processors, an enormous data-archiving facility and a unique system for visualizing scientific data.
Architectural and engineering services for the building’s design and construction were provided by H+L Architecture, California Data Center Design Group, Integral group, RMH Group, Martin & Martin Consulting Engineers, and Rider Levett Bucknall. Construction management services were provided by Saunders Construction Inc. Douglass Colony was responsible for the installation of the project’s membrane roof and the fabrication and/or installation of all architectural sheet metal flashing and trim, architectural panels, column wraps and metal siding panels.
On the exterior of the three-story supercenter, Douglass Colony installed the DCG 2300 rainscreen metal cladding system. It features wall panels fabricated from 4mm Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM) from Alcoa Architectural Products USA of Eastman, GA. The Bone White and Vancouver Copper-colored panels cover approximately 10,000 square feet of wall area, including radiused sections and columns.
The panel division manager at Douglass Colony Group, states the NWSC project was a standout for its complexity. “This project presented unique curves and geometry, including multiple intersections of planes and columns, which made it challenging at times but incredibly fun and interesting also,” he recalled. “The panels wrapped into the interior and covered the vestibule as well for a unique end-result inside and out.”
Erratic climate conditions and weather anomalies affects the lives of millions of people around the world every year. While weather can never be controlled, it needs to be understood and researched fully in order to save lives. At the NWSC, researchers from U.S. academic communities will have access to a premier data storage and archival facility that houses unique historical climate records and an abundance of other scientific data. Research conducted at NWSC will help to improve the understanding of tornadoes, geomagnetic storms, water issues, earthquakes, tsunamis, sources/global dispersal of air pollution, subsurface water, energy resources, wildfire dynamics, subsurface reservoirs for carbon sequestration, and the effects of wind extremes on wind turbines and of clouds on solar cells.
In addition to having an environmentally friendly cladding, NWSC is cooled year round by ambient air to significantly reduce the facility’s energy use. It is estimated that NWSC is 90 percent more energy efficient than typical supercomputing centers. LEED points were also awarded for the efforts made to reuse or recycle construction materials onsite, as less than 30% of construction materials wound up in the landfill.
About Alcoa Architectural Products
As a leading manufacturer of exterior and interior cladding and corporate identity solutions for commercial construction, Alcoa Architectural Products (AAP) helps architects, designers, specifiers and installers achieve their design visions and groundbreaking ideas through its range of Reynobond® / Reynolux® products. In addition to classic Reynobond ACM, Reynobond Natural Metals and Reynolux panels and flat sheet, this comprehensive array of products includes the revolutionary EcoClean™ finish, Reynobond Face Fastened Solution and Colorweld® 500 finish, as well as innovative materials such as the Reynobond Design Line, Anodized Reynobond and Reynobond with KEVLAR®. Alcoa Architectural Products is a business unit of Alcoa, the world’s leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, and the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. For more information, visit www.reynobond.com.