The Woods Hole Research Center’s Gilman Ordway Campus in Falmouth, Massachusetts, is a model in its use of energy, water, and environmentally friendly building materials. The campus consists of two buildings, the George M. Woodwell Building and the Carriage House.
The George M. Woodwell Building and eight surrounding acres were acquired by the Woods Hole Research Center in 1998. The original structure was built as a private summer mansion in 1877, and during the mid-20th century it was operated as an inn.
The architectural firm of William McDonough + Partners was chosen to redesign the structure with the addition of a large curved wing in the back, while retaining the basic style and façade of the original colonial revival mansion according to standards set by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The building opened in March of 2003.
The 19,000 square-foot building has been the recipient of numerous awards for “green” building design, including the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects in 2004, a first place in the “Places of Work: Small Buildings” category of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) Green Building Awards in 2004, and an Honorable Mention in Environmental Design & Construction’s 2004 Excellence in Design Awards.
In anticipation of an expansion of staff from 45 to 60 employees, the Center acquired an adjacent property, the Carriage House, in 2008 and integrated its renovation with the campus-wide energy strategy. The Center partnered with South Mountain Company (principal John Abrams), a design/build firm based on Martha’s Vineyard, to carry out a deep energy retrofit of the 1900 structure.
The Carriage House renovation was a logical extension of the successful approach used for the Woodwell Building. By further reducing direct HVAC loads through super-insulating the walls and ceiling, heating and cooling equipment needs were reduced. As a result of the reduced heating and cooling loads, smaller, even more efficient mechanical systems were needed, creating further reductions in electrical usage. In addition, the overall reduced peak heating and cooling loads allowed the use of air-source heating and cooling equipment, which is a simpler, less expensive system than the ground-source system originally designed for the Woodwell Building.
Consistent with the design intent of the Woodwell Building, the design-build approach for the Carriage House achieved high core efficiencies by employing a super-insulated building envelope, high-performance glazing, energy recovery ventilation, low energy use lighting, and the air-source heat pump system. Completed in 2010, the Carriage House has office space for fifteen employees.
Similar strategies have been employed in the development of both buildings on the Ordway Campus. Both projects applied proven conservation/building energy design and efficiency principles to reduce energy usage so significantly that CO2-laden fossil sources could be eliminated from the campus. Those principles include:
- a tight envelope
- high performance windows glazing and doors
- emphasis on natural lighting
- operable windows
- heat recovery ventilation
WHRC offers occasional campus tours for the general public as well as for architects, engineers, and students, from grade school age through college and graduate school. Call Allison White at 508-444-1550 for information on arranging a tour.