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John W Olver Transit Center , Greenfield, MA

As the first net zero energy transit centre in the United States, this landmark project showcases its green features while also serving the needs of its passengers.

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.

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.

Energy reduction and renewable generation technologies

Key design features include:

  • 22 geothermal wells buried 405 feet deep.

  • 98-kilowatt ground-mounted photovoltaic array, 7,300ft2.

  • On-site 750 MBH (750,000 BTU/hour) boiler fuelled by wood pellets from managed sources.

  • Air-conditioning provided by an active chilled beam system.

  • Solar wall that preheats fresh air by as much as 15° during peak winter sun.

  • Second-stage preheating via ground source heat pump.

  • Air handling unit incorporating variable speed fans and energy recovery.

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

  • All lighting controlled by a system integrating occupancy sensors, photocells, and dimming control.

  • LED light fixtures provided in parking lots.

  • Low-flow water fixtures yielding 35% water savings.

  • Annual energy consumption estimated at less than 35 kBTU/ft2.

At the dedication, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was joined by a number of distinguished speakers including Lt. Governor Timothy Murray and Congressman John Olver. The speakers shared the opinion that this zero net energy facility will be a long lasting contribution to Massachusetts

We have designed several cutting-edge energy reduction and renewable generation technologies for the transit center. Our hope is that with features including real-time energy usage monitoring displayed in the building, users will be inspired to look for new opportunities to reduce their own energy consumption. ”