Zero Energy Certified

BOSTON RESOURCES

VITAL STATS

Certification StatusZero Energy Certified
Version1.0
LocationBoston, MA, USA
TypologyNew Building
Gross Building Area8545 SF
Start of OccupancyDecember 2020
Occupancy TypeCommercial Building

PROJECT TEAM

OwnerBoston Building Materials Resource Center
Owner RepresentativePaul H. La Pointe
General ContractorLandmark Structures
ArchitectBlack River Architects
MEP EngineerWozny/ Barber & Associates
Structural EngineerKanyao Lala, Professional Engineer
Civil EngineerBoston Coastal Consulting
Energy ConsultantDEAP Energy Group, LLC
SurveyorFramingham Survey Consultants
Fire Protection EngineerLVR Fire Corporation
Photo Courtesy of Boston Resources

RENEWABLE PRODUCTION SYSTEMS INFORMATION

ENERGY PERFORMANCE

Renewable TypeSolar Electric (PV)
Total Renewable Capacity45.89 kW
Renewable LocationOn-site

PROJECT LEADERSHIP AND STORY OF THE PROJECT

The Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources is a building that houses high-value, affordable materials, both new and saved, for home maintenance and improvements. Customers can also find expert advice, technical assistance, and hands-on workshops that teach home improvement skills. The renovation of this building includes a new interior layout and storage solutions, as well as an addition that serves as a waiting area and kitchen cabinet display. The program holds customer waiting areas, materials and lighting displays, offices, processing areas, a break room, and a vehicle loading dock.

ENERGY SYSTEMS NARRATIVE

The project is a renovation with an addition to an existing warehouse, processing area, and retail sales area for a Co-Op-based building materials reuse center housed in an 8,545 sq ft pre-engineered metal box.

Energy efficiency strategies incorporated include completely re-cladding and sealing the envelope with high-performance structurally insulated panels (SIPS). The team also installed a new high-performance air-source heat pump-based HVAC system(s) and integral ventilation to replace the gas space and radiant heating systems. 

Energy is generated by on-site PV panels with a roof-mounted array on the Warehouse roof, integrated into the local Grid with “Net Zero Metering.” The project was modeled for all energy needs planned for operations in the design, and the array was designed to meet that need. A fair amount of buffer was planned for, and any excess production would go to the sister Co-op building adjacent to the property or to the staff/member EV charging station in the parking lot. The original warehouse roof structure needed additional structural framing to support the array, so about 60% of the roof was upgraded.

LESSONS LEARNED

The project was quite an adventure for its scale and budget. There were many lessons learned, but the three key ones were:

  1. A very robust and tight envelope makes managing energy consumption significantly easier, predictable, and comfortable. The staff, members, and customers are all astounded at the level of comfort and consistency of the indoor climate.
  2. The openness of the larger spaces and the simplicity of the systems meant that even small adjustments to operational use all had significant impacts on energy consumption. These adjustments included having set points, educating staff and customers on the importance of using the overhead door and truck bays airlocks to manage air quality and energy loss concerns and incorporating minor adjustments to air-sealing during commissioning. It took several months of operations to identify user and operational impacts and opportunities to reduce energy consumption and bring the building into NZE.
  3. There is a need to commission the envelope to effectively persist in validating and improving the air sealing to reduce infiltration and dust movement. The testing (blower door test) and pressurizing led to the identification of several areas and connections that had not been properly executed during construction. The GC was able to locate and remedially seal these locations, leading to significant improvements in performance.
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