Gilman Ordway Building at the Woods Hole Research Center (Woods Hole Research Center)
General Information
Location Falmouth, MA
Owner Woods Hole Research Center Corporation
Architect William McDonough + Partners
Engineer   2rw Consulting Engineers
Completed   June 2003
Building Use   Commercial office, Laboratory, Other
Size   19,200 SF
Stories   Three
Cost   $6,200,000 (land excluded)
Occupancy   40 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 5 visitors per week, 1 hour per visit
Relevant codes   Massachusetts State Building Code
Mixed-Mode System
Mixed-Mode Strategy   This is a concurrent system, with operable windows and hydronic valance convectors in the occupied spaces. They can operate simultaneously, with no integrated sensors or controls.
Natural Ventilation Details   In the existing, remodeled part of the building, the windows are double-glazed and use high-performance glass. In the new addition, the windows are clear, triple-glazed, argon-filled insulating units. All windows are operable throughout the occupied spaces. There are no window sensors or controls, all windows are manually operated.
HVAC System Details   A desire to be 100% electric to take full advantage of the photovoltaic system drove many of the HVAC decisions. A ground source heat pump is used for both heating and cooling the building. The ground-source heat-pump system is powered by the solar panels when possible. Large common areas are heated and cooled by a pair of water-to-air heat exchangers. Individual offices are heated and cooled by two water-to-water heat exchangers servicing ceiling-mounted valence convectors resembling over-sized hot water baseboards.
Hydronic valance convectors provide silent radiant heating and cooling and individual zone control, with much greater efficiency and less noise than conventional fan coil units. The hydronic system was also seen as more energy efficient by using pumps rather than fans, and provided an easier ability for individual zones in the mixed private and open plan spaces. They also ruled out radiant panels or convectors because a condensing terminal unit would work better with operable windows. Air distribution is just what’s needed for ventilation.
The PV system is often able to produce enough energy even during the middle of hot days to return excess power to the grid. Energy recovery ventilators using enthalpy wheels to recapture exhaust heat and moisture and to precondition incoming fresh air.
Configuration & Control   There are no window sensors, actuators, or shut-off controls. The engineers felt that more complex controls led to more chances for something to go wrong, and it was an intentional decision to keep things simple. It is a relatively small organization, and people have developed an intuitive sense of when to open or close the windows; it’s become part of the corporate culture. It was also felt that if one person leaves their window open all the time, one valence convector might be overworking, but it wouldn’t affect the whole building. And given that it has more limited capacity than a fan coil unit, there would be comparatively less waste.
Building Design Process
Design Tools   The project team used the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System for setting goals for the project, and achieved their objective of a LEED Platinum rating.
Energy Analysis   Energy 10 was used to model the thermal and energy performance of the building, and the building is running fairly close to predictions. An energy-systems consultant was brought on early in the design process and used through construction.
Commissioning   Commissioning was done by an independent agent, and was critical to getting the building working as designed.
Code Conflicts   Various site and code issues required changes to the design during the design development process.
Other Design Issues   Working within a constrained site, the design involved the preservation of a 19th-century summer home, adaptively reusing the original house and adding contemporary office, laboratory and common spaces.
Some of the biggest design challenges resulted from recurring delays and the need to raise funds throughout the design process. Some of these were due to building during a time when the construction market was very unstable. Limited accuracy of cost estimating and a resulting escalating of costs far beyond expectations meant that the project’s early fundraising efforts were inadequate. Value-engineering reduced 15% form the construction budget while still preserving the mechanical system’s design intent and achieving many of the sustainability and energy-performance goals. The delays also resulted in a lack of continuity in project staffing, which led to further complexities.
Building Performance
Actual Energy Data   An energy-monitoring system records electricity production and usage, thermal exchange at the ground-source heat pump and solar thermal system, runtime and temperature differentials at the energy recovery units. The data is collected from 75 sensors distributed throughout the building and its systems, as well as outside. The data is used to analyze real-time and trends in energy sources and locals, performance of HVAC systems, and meteorological climate The resulting data educates both staff and the public about energy costs and savings, and the integrated performance of the systems.
The WHRC Ordway facility has performed close to its originally modeled expectations. Total energy usage in 2004 was 96,389 kWhrs with 30,589 being generated onsite by the photovoltaic system. The remaining 65,800 kWhrs was pulled from the electric grid. Approximately 32% of the facility’s total energy requirement was provided by the PV system. Although the new building is nearly twice the size of their old combined offices and labs, the building is using less total energy and spending less money on energy while reducing emissions attributable to its operations to 36% of the previous total (17% of the national office average for a building of same size).
(Source: Woods Hole website)
Example of Monitored Energy Data  

ANNUAL PURCHASED ENERGY USE

Fuel

Quantity

MMBtu

KBtu/ft2

Electricity

59,200 kWh

202

10.5

Natural Gas

0

0

0

Fuel Oil

0

0

0

ANNUAL ON-SITE RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION

Photovoltaics

30,500 kWH

104

5.42

TOTAL ANNUAL BUILDING ENERGY CONSUMPTION

Total Purchased

 

202

10.5

Total On-site

 

104

5.44

Grand Total

 

306

16

Source: DOE high performance building database

Additional Building Features
Sustainable Sites   • Adapt and reuse the existing historic structure rather than demolish and rebuild.
• Close proximity to a “rails to trails” bike path.
• Preferential parking for carpoolers.
• Received permission from town zoning board to reduce amount of required overflow parking, and therefore reduce amount of paving in the front yard. Instead, used graded, mown portions of the wildflower meadow for occasional parking.
Water Efficiency   • Permanent gravel parking areas manage storm water on-site
• Bioswale directs runoff into a constructed wetland.
• A 1,200-gallon tank captures rainwater required to achieve the goal of zero landscape irrigation.
• A wildflower meadow replaces most of the lawn.
Energy and Atmosphere   • Integration of energy-conservation strategies, passive-solar, and on-site renewable power generation makes the building 83% more efficient than a minimally ASHRAE-compliant building.
• Grid-connected, net-metered photovoltaic array.
• Closed-loop, ground-source heat-pump system.
• Solar-thermal hot water system.
• A planned on-site wind turbine will yield a net surplus of energy for the building.
• Careful detailing of the building envelope .
• Icynene spray foam insulates all exterior walls and roof assemblies to provide a high R-value and effective air barrier.
Materials and Resources   • A simple interior materials palette, mostly of silica (glass, stone) or cellulose (wood) .
• Spray-foam insulation contains no ozone-depleting blowing agents or formaldehyde.
• FSC-certified wood used in ash millwork; fir windows; maple flooring; cedar shingles, clapboard siding, and trim; and framing lumber and decking.
• Stone walls use fieldstone and glacial erratics drawn from the site.
• Furnishings with high recycled content in aluminum, fabrics, desk substrates, veneer, and steel components. Examples include task chairs, desk systems, and conference tables.
Indoor Environmental Quality   • Daylight, fresh air, and access to views throughout the building integrate the inside and outside spaces.
• Skylights direct light to interior spaces.
• Full-height windows in the new wing open to the surrounding forest.
• Double- and triple-glazed low-e glazing.
• Individual comfort control of operable windows, fresh-air ventilation systems, and user-controlled temperature and lighting.
• Separate ventilation systems in laboratory spaces.
• Low-VOC materials, paints, and adhesives.
• Open cell structure of the building’s Icynene insulation eliminates subsequent offgassing of uncured materials.
Project Team
Architect   Mark Rylander, Project Manager
William McDonough + Partners
700 East Jefferson Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
434 979 1111
http://www.mcdonoughpartners.com
Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineer   Robert Somers
2rw Consulting Engineers, PC
100 10th St. NE Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA
434.296.2116
http://www.2rw.com
Code Consultant   John Ferguson
Ferguson Engineering
Clarkson, MD
Civil Engineer   Mike McGrath
Holmes and McGrath, Inc.
362 Gifford Street
Falmouth, MA 02540
508-548-3564
http://www.holmesandmcgrath.com
Structural Engineer   Nat Oppenheimer
Robert Silman Associates
88 University Place
New York, NY 10003
212.620.7970
http://www.rsapc.com
Landscape Architect   Warren Byrd
Nelson-Byrd Landscape Architects
408 Park Street
Charlottesville, VA
http://www.nelson-byrd.com
Cost Estimating   Richard Vermeulen
Vermeulens Construction Consulting
9835 Leslie St.
Richmond Hill, Ontario
L4B 3Y4 CANADA
(905) 787-1880
http://www.vermeulens.com
Contractor   John Million
TR White Company, Inc.
368 Congress Street
Boston, MA
617-350-0107
Computer Energy Modeling   Marc Rosenbaum, P.E.
Energysmiths
P.O. Box 194
Meridan, NH 03770
603-469-3355
marc@energysmiths.com

Andy Shapiro
Energy Balance, Inc.
45 Perkinds Rd.
Montpelier, VT 05602
802-229-5676
andy@energybalance.us
Efficient Lighting Design   David Nelson
Clanton & Associates, Inc.
4699 Nautilus Court South #102
Boulder, CO
303.530.7229
http://www.clantonassociates.com
Renewable Energy Systems   John Kneffner
Northern Power Systems
182 Mad River Park
Waitsfield, VT 05673
(802) 496-2955
http://www.northernpower.com
Additional Information
Awards   • AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects in 2004.
• NESEA Green Building Awards in 2004; Category/title: First place in the "Places of Work: Small Buildings" category.
• Environmental Design & Construction Magazine Excellence in Design Awards in 2004; Category/title: Institutional, Government, Nonprofit, Educational, or Healthcare Category, Honorable Mention.
Sources   • AIA's COTE 2004 Top Ten Green Projects; Environmental Design + Construction: 2004/09.
• The Earth Day 10; Interiors & Sources: 2004/07.
• Living a Sustainable Mission; Environmental Design + Construction: 2003/11.
• 'Strategy of hope' on Cape: Architectural, environmental marvel; The Providence Journal: 2003/10.
• Real World Power: Sustainable Energy for Woods Hole Research Center's New Facility; Northern Power Systems: 2003/10.
• Sustainable Center for Woods Hole; Architecture Week : 2003/09.
• PV System to Power Woods Hole Research Center; Renewable Energy News: 2002/07.
• Woods Hole Research Center, http://www.whrc.org
• U.S. Department of Energy High Performance Buildings Database, http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/highperformance/case_studies/index.cfm.
Contact   Primary Contact
Mark Rylander
William McDonough + Partners
Architect (Associate partner / project manager)
Charlottesville, VA
434-979-1111
 
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