Arup Announces the Completion of the First Zero Net Energy Transit Center in the Nation

May 04, 2012, 17:48 ET from Arup

BOSTON, May 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Arup, the global engineering firm, celebrated the official opening of the John W. Olver Transit Center, the first zero net energy building of its kind in the nation.  Working closely with Charles Rose Architects, Arup led the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering as well as lighting design for the project that will produce enough renewable energy over the year to offset the total energy used within that building over the same time period.

"We are excited to bring zero net energy design to this landmark project in Massachusetts. It is a great example of how public policy and design can come together to have a positive impact on sustainability, transportation, and economic development," said Mark Walsh-Cooke, Arup Project Director and member of the Massachusetts Zero Net Energy Building Advisory Council.

The transportation hub will also house community space and offices for the Franklin Regional Transit Authority and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. The center will also serve as an 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.

"We have designed several cutting-edge energy reduction strategies and renewable generation technologies for the transit center," said Arup Project Manager Julian Astbury. "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." Key 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 fueled 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 degrees during peak winter sun
  • Second-stage preheating via ground source heat pumps
  • Air handling unit incorporating variable speed fans and energy recovery
  • Daylight modeling 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/square foot

At the dedication, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was joined by a number of distinguished speakers including Lt. Governor Timothy Murray and Congressman John Olver at the dedication. The speakers shared the opinion that this zero net energy facility will be a long lasting contribution to Massachusetts. "I am pleased to see this innovative investment in the future of transportation and green energy come to fruition and honored by the name designation given to this modern facility," said Olver.

In addition to the Olver Transit Center, Arup has worked on 20 zero net energy and deep efficiency projects including the Lowell Trial Court Zero Net Energy Feasibility Study in Massachusetts, Stanford Graduate School of Business in California, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science New Education & Collections Facility in Colorado, Solar2 in New York, BedZED in the UK and World Wildlife Fund in the Netherlands.

About Arup

Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world's most prominent projects in the built environment.  From 92 offices in 37 countries, Arup's 10,000 designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists deliver innovative projects across the world.

The firm was founded in 1946 with an enduring set of values and has a unique trust ownership that fosters a distinctive culture, intellectual independence and a collaborative approach.  Opening its first North American office 27 years ago, Arup in the Americas now employs 1,000.  The people at Arup are driven to find a better way to deliver better and sustainable solutions for their clients.  For more information, visit