Currently Reading

A Massachusetts college now features the largest zero-net-energy academic building in Northeast

Energy Efficiency

A Massachusetts college now features the largest zero-net-energy academic building in Northeast

Bristol Community College wants to be carbon neutral by 2050.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | December 13, 2016

The 50,600-sf John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building is highlighted by an atrium that connects labs and serves as a “learning commons.” Achieving zero-net-energy in this building did not impact its $31.5 million construction budget. Image: Courtesy of Bond

The John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building, which opened last fall on the Fall River, Mass., campus of Bristol Community College (BCC), claims to be the largest zero net energy (ZNE) classroom and science lab building in the Northeast.

The 50,600-sf building, whose construction cost was $31.5 million, consists of two occupied floors and a mechanical penthouse. Its  teaching laboratories, community spaces and interactive classrooms, are joined by a shared atrium that serves as a “learning commons” and student living room.

The Building Team on this project included the civil engineering and construction firm Bond (GC), Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers (engineer), and Sasaki Associates (architect).

To achieve zero net energy goals in a facility with a large amount of energy consuming lab space, the design incorporates a large solar array field over the adjacent parking lot that works in tandem with a PV array on the roof of the building. The new facility is projected to use less than 20% of the new array and no fossil fuels for heating and cooling. 

The Building Team also installed geothermal wells 500 feet below ground level that feed a ground source heat pump. This was coupled with an air source heat pump to provide heating and cooling to the building. In addition, 12 of the building’s 16 fume hoods filter and return air to the space, rather than exhausting it out into the atmosphere. 

Significantly, the ZNE design was achieved without increasing the budget. The building will serve as an important benchmark for future campus development and a model for other institutions.

“We are especially proud of this new building for BCC, which has already received several awards for its innovative approach to sustainable construction,” said Robert Murray, Bond’s President. “It’s one of the first ZNE science laboratory buildings built in the Northeast and well equipped for the ever-changing needs of the college’s health and science curriculum.”

BCC, which was chartered in 1965, is one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the Northeast. The school offers more than 150 programs that include nursing, dental hygiene, biotechnology, microbiology, chemistry, and biology. The Health and Science Building—named after BCC’s president of 16 years, John J. Sbrega, who is retiring next August—brings much-needed new space to the burgeoning campus. It is LEED Platinum certified, and can be seen as a starting point for the college’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

On its website, Bond notes that one of this project’s challenges was the installation of three prefabricated mechanical room pieces, each 10 to 15 tons, that needed to be rigged through the structure, and placed during ongoing construction. Offsite commissioning, including control testing, allowed for plug and play of the mechanical room as well as critical control sequences. 

Related Stories

Sponsored | Healthcare Facilities | Oct 18, 2021

MEP design considerations for rural hospitals

Rural hospitals present unique opportunities and challenges for healthcare facility operators. Oftentimes, the infrastructure and building systems have not been updated for years and require significant improvements in order to meet today’s modern medical demands. Additionally, as these smaller, more remote hospitals are acquired by larger regional and national healthcare systems, the first step by new ownership is often to update and rehabilitate the building. 

Sponsored | Glass and Glazing | Oct 1, 2021

Seizing the Daylight with BIPV Glass

Glass has always been an idea generator. Now, it’s also a clean energy generator.

Daylighting Designs | Jul 9, 2021

New daylighting diffusers come in three shape options

Solatube introduces its newest technology innovation to its commercial product line, the OptiView Shaping Diffusers.

Education Facilities | Jun 4, 2021

Three ProConnect events coming this fall: Sustainability (Nov 2-3), Education (Nov 16-17), Multifamily (Dec 12-14)

SGC Horizon ProConnect 2021 schedule for Education, Multifamily, Office, and Single Family events.

Energy Efficiency | Mar 23, 2021

ASHRAE’s new headquarters walks the talk about net-zero energy

The conversion of a 1970s’-era building demonstrates how older structures can be made more efficient and sustainable.

Energy Efficiency | Nov 11, 2020

Has energy efficiency lost its mojo during the pandemic?

Two surveys found that, despite much lower occupancy rates, energy consumption in most commercial buildings didn’t decline.

Multifamily Housing | Sep 10, 2020

EV charging webinar to feature experts from Bozzuto, Irvine Company, and RCLCO - Wed., 9-16

EV charging webinar (9/16) to feature Bozzuto Development, The Irvine Company, RCLCO, and ChargePoint

Continuing Education and Life Time Learning | Apr 3, 2020

Online technical training sessions on tankless water heaters and boilers

Tankless water heaters and boiler training for plumbing contractors.

More In Category

Healthcare Facilities

MEP design considerations for rural hospitals

Rural hospitals present unique opportunities and challenges for healthcare facility operators. Oftentimes, the infrastructure and building systems have not been updated for years and require significant improvements in order to meet today’s modern medical demands. Additionally, as these smaller, more remote hospitals are acquired by larger regional and national healthcare systems, the first step by new ownership is often to update and rehabilitate the building. 





Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: