Hitchcock Center for the Environment

The Hitchcock Center for the Environment (HCE) is a nonprofit environmental education center in Amherst, MA that has served Western Massachusetts for over 50 years. The Center serves over 9,000 visitors annually through educational programing and events that are open to the public. (www.hitchcockcenter.org) In 2016, HCE completed a new 8,900 square foot net zero energy and water environmental center. In planning for its new facility, HCE needed additional educational space for programing and a building that amplified its environmental education mission as a leader in sustainable design and operation. HCE built to the highest standard of sustainable development in the built environment by taking the Living Building Challenge (LBC). This required HCE to meet over 20 rigorous performance standards that include zero net energy and water and the use of locally sourced, non-toxic materials. The Hitchcock Center is excited to begin the 12-month audit period toward achieving LBC, estimated to begin in early 2017.

Quick Facts

General

Location
845 West Street
Amherst, MA01002
United States
Building Type Educational/Assembly
Project Type Zero Energy
Basis of Performance Claim Modeled, Zero Energy Program,
Bedrooms 0
Conditioned Floor Area 7 442

Energy Summary

Energy Data Type Modeled,
Renewable Energy System Type(s) Photovoltaics,
Ratings

Living Building Challenge 2.1

Annual renewable energy generated 64 887

Envelope and Mechanicals

Subslab assembly

4-inches of expanded polystyrene, continuous under slab, and around foundation wall

Foundation wall assembly

Conventional poured in place concrete foundation wall wrapped with 4 inches of expanded polystyrene insulation.

Above grade wall assembly

siding over plywood sheathing, over 6 inches polyisocyanurate insulation (2 layers of 3 inch, joints staggered), over air and vapor barrier, over 3/8 inch plywood sheathing, over 1.25 inches tongue and groove sheathing

Door Assembly

Hollow metal door with polyurethane core. Ceco Door, Assa Abloy 1-3/4" Trio-E Door.

Air Changes per hour, ACH50 0.65

Project Team:

BuilderTeam Member: Jonathan Wright

Other Team Members:

Architects: designLAB Architects (Sam Batchelor and Kelley Ard Haigh)
Builder: Wright Builders (Mark Ledwell, Jonathan Writh, Jim Small)
MEP Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering (Kaye Palomo and John Swift)
Civile Engineer: Berkshire Design Group (Christopher Chamberland)
Water System Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering (Ronald Furbish)
Structural Engineer: Structures Workshop (Erik A. Nelson)
Sustainability Consultant: Linnean Solutions (Jim Newman)
Materials Vetting (Red List): Integrated EcoStrategy (Charley Stevenson)
Lighting Designer: Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting
Landscape Designer: Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects (Greg Tuzzolo)
Solar Installer: PV Squared (John Child and Chris Krezmien)
Commissioning Agent: Collier's International (Robert Lee)
Owner's Project Manager: Chris Riddle (retired, Kuhn Riddle Architects)
Hitchcock Center Staff: Julie Johnson, Executive Director and Jessica Schultz, Communication and Living Building Coordinator

Ratings:

Living Building Challenge 2.1

Awards:

Award submissions pending.

Completion

Completion Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Scope

The project was to build a 8,500 square foot environmental education center, to meet the Living Building Challenge.

Type of Construction New,
Number of buildings 1
Floor area of each building 8 949
Bedrooms 0
Stories 1
Conditioned Building Volume 98 937
Conditioned Floor Area 7 442

Location and Climate Details

Educational/Assembly

Address
845 West Street
Amherst, MA01002
United States
Location Type Rural
Climate Region Zone 5
Köppen Climate Type
Lat. / Long. POINT (-72.5247293 42.3241969)
Elevation 218
Solar Insolation .6914 kWh/m2/day
Annual CDD and Base Temp 3037 | 50
Annual HDD and Base Temp 5754 | 65

Site

Site Conditions:

brownfield site, agricultural land,

Site Description:

The site is located on land owned by Hampshire College. It was a former apple orchard and as a result was contaminated from lead arsenate spraying. The Hitchcock Center developed a plan to remediate soils on the site by stripping the top 7-9 inches off the surface. Contaminated soil was buried under the parking area, reducing costs for trucking and disposal off site. New clean soils from local sources were brought in to the site for landscaping and grading work.

Monthly Energy Data and Utilities

Energy Data Type: Modeled, Zero Energy Program,

Electric Utility: Eversource

Gas Utility: Not applicable

Renewables and Energy Balance

Renewable Energy Sources:Renewable energy is generated within the building footprint (e.g. solar PV on the roof),

Renewable Energy System Description & Details: The Hitchcock Center's building uses a 60kw photovoltaic array comprised of Sunpower SPR-E20-327-COM modules. Each panel has an area of 1.63 square meters so each panel will produce 1.13kWhr per day per panel on your system. Annually the solar system can produce an average of 76,134 kilowatt hours per year (provided no shade grows that will effect production). SolarEdge inverters are used to convert DC to AC current. Note that the power rating is 60,495 Watts DC, 54,000 Watts AC.

Annual renewable energy generated 64 887
Annual Renewable Energy Generated Data Type Modeled,
Power Rating 60 495Watts
Renewable Energy System Type(s) Photovoltaics,
Source of Annual Production Data Estimated and modelled based on ASHRAE 90.1 and 140.

Walls and Roof

The envelope design is based on continuity of the insulation layer and air barrier from footing to eave to ridge to eave to footing. Great effort was made to eliminate thermal bridging. For instance, all roof overhangs (used to harvest rainwater) are independently framed outboard of the insulation layer and air barrier. The actual R-value is not remarkable - R39 - but the designers believe continuity makes up for that. For instance, our recent blower door test shows an extremely tight building meeting Passive House standards.

Subslab assembly

4-inches of expanded polystyrene, continuous under slab, and around foundation wall

Subslab R-value 20.00
Slab edge assembly

Slab edge is isolated from grade our out door air by 4 inches of expanded polystyrene insulation.

Slab edge R-value 20.00
Foundation wall assembly

Conventional poured in place concrete foundation wall wrapped with 4 inches of expanded polystyrene insulation.

Foundation wall R-value 20.00
Above grade wall assembly

siding over plywood sheathing, over 6 inches polyisocyanurate insulation (2 layers of 3 inch, joints staggered), over air and vapor barrier, over 3/8 inch plywood sheathing, over 1.25 inches tongue and groove sheathing

Above grade wall R-value 39.00
Cathedral ceiling assembly

roofing over plywood sheathing, over 6 inches polyisocyanurate insulation (2 layers of 3 inch, joints staggered), over air and vapor barrier, over 3/8 inch plywood sheathing, over 1.25 inches tongue and groove sheathing

Cathedral ceiling R-value 39.00

Windows and Doors

Window Assembly:

Alpen 725 Series WIndows

Door Assembly:

Hollow metal door with polyurethane core. Ceco Door, Assa Abloy 1-3/4" Trio-E Door.

Average window U-factor 0.18
Door U-Factor 0.36
Door Area 273

Mechanical Systems

Space cooling - Manufacturer & Model Mitsubishi R2 Hyper Heat VRF System,
Space heating - Manufacturer & Model Mitsubishi R2 Hyper Heat VRF System ,
Domestic hot water - Manufacturer & Model EEmax EX1608TC & EX55SLN4
Domestic hot water - capacity 4
Ventilation - Manufacturer & Model (2) Renewaire HE2XINH,
Lighting Manufacturer and Model
Lighting Efficiency
Mechanical Equipment Installation Details and Comments

Envelope

Air Changes per hour, ACH50 0.65
Air Changes per hour, CFM50 993.00

General Process

We used an integrated process that is highly collaborative. Over 8 different disciplines were represented in our design team, from mechanical engineers and landscape designers to our construction manager and exhibit designers. As well, our environmental educators and staff of the Hitchcock Center had a central role at the design table. The whole project team was tasked with the entire building and all of its systems together, emphasizing connections and improving communication among professionals and stakeholders throughout the life of a project. Disciplinary boundaries were broken down and linear planning was reduced to promote great efficiency and effectiveness in the design process.

Our integrated-design approach required more time on the the front-end – from concept design to construction documents - nearly two years but the outcome is a beautifully executed and on-budget building.

Design for Adaptability:

Open column free spaces and slab throughout.

Software Tools

Software Tools:

ArchiCAD

General modeling information:

IES Virtual Environment (IES) version 2014.2.1.0

Lessons Learned

Outcome of Project Goals:

The project goal was to design and build a building to meet full Living Building Challenge certification. Following construction and occupancy, the building enters a 12-month audit period. This period has not yet begun.

Discrepancies:

Not enough data is available to date. Occupants have been in the building for only 2 months.

Rebates and Financial Incentives

Federal incentives

Grant funding: Institute for Museum and Library Services

Local incentives

Local community donors.

State incentives

MA Department of Energy Resources Pathways to Zero Grant Program
MA Environmental Bond Bill
MA Cultural Facilities Funding

Utility incentives

Eversource

Other incentives
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