About

The scientific mission of the NWSC is to help scientists better understand our planet, and how human activities are affecting it. This mission inspires the guiding principle at the heart of the center’s design: to maximize the benefits of this facility to society, while minimizing its environmental impact.

That principle meant creating a facility that would use energy and water resources efficiently, be adaptable to new technologies, make use of sustainable and recycled materials and reduce or eliminate waste both during construction and during operations.

The result is the facility you see described in these pages. During its construction, more than 70% of construction waste was diverted from landfills and used for recycling, and the building itself is made with over 510 tons of recycled concrete, 60 tons of recycled wood and 26 tons of recycled metal.

Combined with water savings of up to six million gallons per year, super efficient office space and the use of renewable wind energy, the design and construction of the NWSC has earned it the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification.

The NWSC is operated by NCAR’s Computational and Information Systems Laboratory under sponsorship of the National Science Foundation.

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Inside the NWSC

A partnership between Xcel Energy and NCAR has produced a wind forecasting system that is widely considered to be one of the most advanced of its kind. Its highly accurate forecasts mean that Xcel Energy can anticipate when it will have enough wind energy to meet customer needs. In 2010 alone, the system saved Xcel Energy’s customers more than $6 million.