Automated Green: The Genzyme Center!


If it's automated green you like, the Genzyme Center has plenty of it. Completed a few years ago, the complex is the headquarters for a biotechnology company in Boston. It has a Platinum LEED Rating which is the highest awarded. Carbon dioxide sensors register "stuffy" indoor air conditions. Fans coils units are automatically shut off when windows or doors are opened for natural ventilation. Photo sensors and occupancy sensors detect conditions and dim overhead lights as needed. The daylight dimming system reduces lighting energy use by about 45%.
The natural light enhancement system utilizes a series of roof-mounted heliostats (mirrors) that track the sun's movement across the skylight to fixed mirrors. The mirrors further reflect the light to a series of prismatic louvers located at the top of the atrium. The louvers also move with the sun’s path and elevation and reflect glaring, direct sunlight back to the mirrors, allowing diffuse light to enter the atrium. Once in the atrium, the light is further reflected to the floors by a system of hanging prismatic mobiles, shown in this photograph, reflective panels, and a reflective light wall on the inner surface of the atrium.

The central heating and cooling systems are powered with steam from an adjacent power plant. The steam drives absorption chillers for cooling during the summer and is exchanged directly into heat for heating during the winter. This local energy cycle avoids distribution losses. As a result, peak summer electrical demand remains low and doesn't burden the aging electrical grid.

One-third of the building’s façade is constructed as a double façade with a four-foot externally ventilated void. Operable blinds in the void block solar gains in the summer and vent them back outdoors before they enter the conditioned space. In the winter, the void is not ventilated and the blinds are open, making the double façade a warm buffer around the building. The remainder of the façade is double-glazed with low-emissivity coatings which, when combined with internal blinds, offer sufficient solar and thermal control.

The building has two photovoltaic arrays on the roof of the mechanical penthouses which generate 20-kW at peak output.

These energy-efficient features, along with efficient fans, motors, and equipment and an extensive building management system, reduce the projected overall energy cost for the building by about 41%.

:: Genzyme Center