photo of the new DFW Building

Designer: Architerra, Inc
Contractor: Columbia Construction Company
Project Type: CM at-Risk
Project Cost: $25 Million 
Gross Square Feet: 45,000
Est. Substantial Completion Date: Summer 2014


Construction of a new 45,000 gross square foot Field Headquarters Building, including office, labs, meeting and classroom areas on the site of the former DFW headquarters building on the campus of the former Lyman School in Westborough, MA. 

The facility achieves zero net energy through solar photovoltaics and innovative mechanical systems as well as building envelope quality and reduction of all energy loads through building management.

The building features a very efficient envelope with triple glazed curtainwall and metal windows as well as structural insulated panels.  It has been oriented to optimize production from the rooftop photovoltaic panels while minimizing heating and cooling energy use.

In 2016, the building received the Energy Efficiency, Green Building Market Leadership Award and the Green Building of the Year Special Merit Award.  

This project also received the Honor Award for Sustainable Design at the Boston Society of Architects Design Awards in 2017.  The jury commented: “This new zero net energy public office building integrates seamlessly into the environment and seems like it is a part of nature. The building is beautiful, but not at the expense of sustainability, and should serve as an example for other state-funded buildings. Its enclosure - elegant, tectonic, and modular - deserves special notice. The outdoors is brought inside in a way that is conducive to natural life. Water management, including the incorporation of a splash trench which collects and channels roof runoff, is interesting and compelling. Part of the plan calls for continuous improvement, which emphasizes a paradigm shift that enables the architect to be part of the building’s lifecycle, even after turning it over to the client. This is a unique and rare design process, and we hope it is replicable.”

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) announced this project received Silver Award Recognition at their 2017 Engineering Excellence Awards Ceremony in Boston.

Project Features:

  • Leed Platinum Certification
  • Optimum orientation to minimize heating & cooling energy use
  • Use of natural light
  • Geothermal System
  • Radiant heating and cooling
  • Photovoltaic panels on the roof
  • Mechanically assisted natural ventilation
  • Heat recovery
  • On site stormwater recharge
  • Sustainable site plan with native species which will serve outdoor education and be a gateway to 1000 acre wildlife management lands

Energy Usage

The current energy model is calling for of 303 mwh/yr which equates to 22.6 kBtu/ft².   Compared against the expected 370 mwh/yr production of the PV system, this is a projected 22% buffer between energy use and production and is approximately 60% below typical usage for this type of building.   

Leed modeling results suggest that the designed building will reduce actual energy cost by 50.1% compared to the Leed baseline building.

The majority of energy savings are in heating energy. These savings result from improved heating performance (heat pumps use ~25% of the energy that electric resistance requires for the same load), exhaust air energy recovery (reduces ventilation loads by ~70%), demand controlled ventilation (reduces ventilation loads by ~50%), improved envelope performance, and the decoupling of the outside air system from space loads which reduces reheat.

Exterior view of the building from the Southwest
Exterior view of the building from the Southwest
View of the lobby from 2nd floor
View of the lobby and trout pond from 2nd floor
Exterior view of the new building
Exterior view of the new building