The John W. Olver Transit Center

  • First zero net energy transit centre in the United States.
  • Key part of the Governors' energy and greenhouse gas reduction executive order.
  • Adopts cutting-edge energy reduction and renewable generation technologies.

The John W. Olver Transit Center, which opened on 4 May 2012, houses community space and offices for the Franklin Regional Transit Authority and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. The centre will also serve as a link to the Amtrak station with the completion of the Knowledge Corridor Rail Project in approximately two years and is expected to be a catalyst for redevelopment and growth in the region.

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 modelling used to determine optimal placement of windows, clerestory, and skylights.

"We are excited to bring zero net energy design to this landmark project in Massachusetts. It is a great example of how public policy and design can come together to have a positive impact on sustainability, transportation, and economic development.”

- Mark Walsh-Cooke, Arup Project Director and member of the Massachusetts Zero Net Energy Advisory Committee.

Arup used several cutting-edge, renewable energy technologies with the John W. Olver Transit Center project. Energy modelling software indicating heating and lighting were the buildings biggest energy drains. Arup’s engineers recommended a biomass boiler, which will be fuelled by wood pellets from managed sources. The lighting team suggested the addition of skylights and the use of programmable fixtures to optimise energy use.

The centre also features a freestanding 96kW photovoltaic array with over 450 panels, capable of producing enough energy annually to offset any electrical energy consumed.

In total, Arup provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, as well as lighting design services.


  • Exterior of the John W. Olver Transit Center. Credit Charles Rose Architects.Open gallery

    The John W. Olver Transit Center is one of just a handful of zero net energy buildings in Massachusetts.