University of Massachusetts Sherman Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Courtesy Erb Photography.

University of Massachusetts Albert Sherman Center



The Albert Sherman Center is the greenest building on University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Worcester campus. Designed for advanced biomedical research and education, the facility houses three departments: the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Gene Therapy, the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences and the Center for Experiential Learning and Simulation. The building features wet and dry research laboratories, a vivarium, clean rooms and core research spaces, a 350-seat auditorium, conference and seminar spaces, a cafeteria, teaching areas and a library.

Strategies and Solutions

Thornton Tomasetti facilitated the initial sustainable design charrette to help direct the entire project team toward creative eco-friendly strategies early in the design process. A concept level energy analysis undertaken to evaluate various building schemes and orientations was highly influential in arriving at the final design concept. Gradual sloping ceilings were added on the building’s north side to maximize daylight, while strategically placed solar shades on the south side reduce solar heat gains. The energy efficient façade includes glass, aluminum, terracotta and granite elements creating 1,775 panels. Long windows with the addition of spandrel glass sections on all sides above and below each window were installed to allow as much natural light as possible.

Achieving Gold

The recommendations of the energy analysis undertaken by Thornton Tomasetti resulted in projected overall energy cost savings of 25 percent. The building uses 4.1 million fewer kilowatt hours of electricity and 30 percent less water, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 4.5 million pounds annually, compared to similar buildings of standard design.The team has a plan in place to continually measure and verify the actual energy savings.The Albert Sherman Center was constructed on time and under budget, and achieved LEED Gold certification.

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