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Project

Williams College, Garfield House Residence Hall

After a feasibility study, we concluded the total carbon emissions of a more energy-efficient structure would be less than renovating the existing building.

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Project Details

Project Partners
Spagnolo Gisness & Associates
Owner
Williams College
Location
Williamstown, Massachusetts
Completion Date
Area
16,500 ft²
Sustainability
LEED Gold Certification & Passive House PHIUS+ certification
Garfield House Residence Hall at Williams College in Massachusetts. Courtesy Spagnolo Gisness & Associates
Garfield House Residence Hall at Williams College in Massachusetts. Courtesy Spagnolo Gisness & Associates
Garfield House Residence Hall at Williams College in Massachusetts. Thornton Tomasetti

Delivering a High-Performance, Healthy and Cost-Effective Building

Originally built in 1851, the Garfield Estate in Massachusetts was a wood-framed building used since 1924 as residence housing at Williams College. The College looked to replace the aging structure, but to do so in the most cost-effective and sustainable way.

We provided structural design, below-grade engineering and Passive House certification services to Spagnolo Gisness & Associates to help evaluate the building’s envelope, structure and energy performance. The result? A new sustainability icon, designed to achieve both LEED Gold Certification and Passive House PHIUS+ certification.

Highlights

  • A key factor in our multi-year analysis was the study of operational carbon savings from the new building versus embodied carbon associated with the existing facility.
  • Our study found that after 4.5 years, the total carbon emissions of the new, more energy-efficient structure would be less than the existing building were it to be newly renovated.
  • The new building is designed to achieve Passive House PHIUS+ certification and LEED Gold certification.
  • The estimated Energy Use Intensity is expected to be 28 kbtu/sf/yr and is 48 percent better than ASHRAE 90.1.
  • The building features R-38 walls, R-60 roofs, triple-pane fiberglass windows, south-facing brise soliel, high-efficiency energy recovery ventilation units, drainwater heat recovery and an estimated 50-kw photovoltaic array.
  • With these features and an air-tight construction approach required for passive house design, the building only needs a small amount of electric heating in each room.
  • By eliminating the heating system, the project is able to achieve Passive House PHIUS+ certification without any construction cost premium.
  • The new building has a 50% to 80% savings in operating energy cost.
  • We also managed the salvage of historic architectural elements and their incorporation into the new design.