John W. Olver Transit Center
New Construction; John W. Olver Transit Center; Arup
Engineering firm: Arup
2013 MEP Giants rank: 10
Project: John W. Olver Transit Center
Address: Greenfield, Mass., United States
Building type: Mixed-use (retail and residential)
Project type: New construction
Engineering services: Electrical/Power, HVAC, Lighting
Project timeline: April 2009 to May 2012
Engineering services budget: $12 million
MEP budget: $12 million
In 2007, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed Executive Order 484 with the goals of reducing overall energy consumption by 35%, procuring 30% of annual electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 in all state owned and leased buildings. In response, a handful of buildings, including the John W. Olver Transit Center (JOTC), were selected to showcase efficient strategies as part of the Leading by Example program. The design team was challenged to showcase how public policy and design can come together to have a positive impact on sustainability, transportation, and economic development. The JOTC is the regional hub for public transit, paratransit, private transit, taxi services, bicycles, and future passenger rail service. The transit center is being designed as a "green," high-performance building, with a zero net or near-zero net energy profile.
Arup worked closely with Charles Rose Architects to integrate engineering strategies during the conceptual design phase. Some of the key green features of this zero net energy building include air-conditioning provided by an active chilled beam system, a solar wall that preheats fresh air by as much as 15 degrees during peak winter sun, second-stage preheating via a ground source heat pump, and daylight modeling used to determine optimal placement of windows, clerestory, and skylights.
Arup designed several cutting-edge energy reduction and renewable generation technologies for the 24,000-sq-ft transit center. The building's net-energy consumption over the course of a year will be zero. Features including real-time energy usage monitoring are displayed in the building, with the hope that users will be inspired to look for new opportunities to reduce their own energy consumption. Based on an energy model created by Arup, the center's largest energy loads were determined to be heating and lighting. Arup recommended a biomass boiler to address the building's major heating needs with a renewable fuel source. To reduce the amount of electric lighting required, Arup’s lighting team created a radiance model of the building to establish the daylighting attributes of its various spaces. Recommendations were made to add circular skylights in the second-floor office area. The building will also employ addressable ballasts that allow users to reprogram spaces and fixtures as needed to maximize flexibility and optimize energy usage. Other cutting-edge technologies used to conserve and generate energy to power JOTC include an enthalpy wheel, geothermal heat pumps, chilled beams, a perforated solar collector, and a freestanding 96 kW photovoltaic array with over 450 panels, capable of producing enough electrical energy over the course of the year to offset the energy consumed within the building.