Despite outward appearances, what you’re looking at is not a cooling tower at a nuclear plant. Rather, it’s the California Department of General Services’ recently completed Central Plant in Sacramento. Construction on the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified facility began in 2007. The Central Plant provides heating and cooling for the 23 state buildings in the capital city and incorporates a host of state-of-the-art green technology including: a Thermal Energy Storage tank to chill water more efficiently, a white roof to reduce heat, a solar hot water system, a steam-powered electric generator, high-performance windows, and strategic tree and vegetation placement. The 78,000-square-foot facility is the largest in western U.S. and uses 90 percent less water than the original plant.

Photo by Todd Quam, Digital Sky Aerial Imaging