Air Force museum garners ‘gold’ for new hangar

The 183-foot-long North American XB-70 Valkyrie towers over other X-planes in the fourth building of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Aircraft from the Presidential, Research and Development, Space and Global Reach Galleries are inside the hangar. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
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The 183-foot-long North American XB-70 Valkyrie towers over other X-planes in the fourth building of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Aircraft from the Presidential, Research and Development, Space and Global Reach Galleries are inside the hangar. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

A $40.8 million hangar expansion of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force housing presidential aircraft and one-of-a-kind jets and spacecraft has earned “gold” for going green.

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The U.S. Green Building Council awarded the massive hangar a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold-level certification, according to the museum.

The hangar, which has boosted attendance since it opened in June 2016, has cut energy costs 39 percent and water usage 36 percent, the museum reported.

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On other benchmarks, the museum said 91 percent of building materials were locally sourced; 75 percent of non-hazardous materials recycled; and 45 percent of the materials used to construct the 224,000-square-foot hangar were recycled.

The museum was to receive the award in a ceremony Thursday.

Among other artifacts, the display galleries in the hangar house 10 presidential aircraft, exotic jets such as the delta-winged XB-70 Valkyrie bomber, the speed and altitude record-setting X-15 rocket plane, and the historic C-141 “Hanoi Taxi” that brought the first American POWs back to the United States from the Vietnam War.

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