Leading the way toward a cleaner energy future, the Commonwealth opened the first state-owned zero net energy building, one of the largest of its kind, in the fall of 2011. Over the course of a year, the building will produce as much energy onsite as it consumes. The 58,000-square-feet, three-floor building at the North Shore Community College (NSCC) in Danvers will provide new classrooms, labs, and offices for the campus.

The NSCC building's integrated design consists of a south-facing horizontal design, an enhanced building envelope including R-24 to R-30 walls and R-5 windows; chilled beams to provide air conditioning; LED lighting and occupancy sensors; solar sun shades and light shelves; and natural ventilation. The building will utilize onsite clean energy technologies, including a 50-well geothermal closed-loop system and 340 kW of solar panels on the roof and in the parking lot. Other "green" design features include a green roof, low-flow fixtures, permeable pavement, and native landscaping. The design, efficiencies, and technologies result in an energy demand of only 27 kBtu per square foot per year for the building -- well below a comparable "average" building in this climate, which would require approximately 60 to 80 kBtu/year of energy per square foot.

With utility costs projected at zero, the new super-efficient Health and Student Services Building will benefit the Commonwealth in several ways:

  • Reduce annual grid electricity consumption by approximately 409,000 kWh annually, which will save an estimated $142,000 per year
  • Save roughly $3.5 million in avoided electricity bills over the next 20 years (the approximate life of the PV system), assuming a 3% annual increase in energy prices and other efficiency factors
  • Prevent approximately 4,000 metric tons of carbon emissions over the 20-year period, equivalent to eliminating 780 cars from Massachusetts roads or the electricity use of 500 homes

For more information on the building view NSCC’s webpage.


Construction Management:Mass. Division of Capital Asset Management
Architects:Dimella Shaffer
Copley Wolff Design Group (Landscape)
Engineers:RDK engineers (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing)
GZA & Alderson Engineering (Geothermal Design)
Buro Happold (Environmental Consultants & Energy Modeling)
Nitsch Engineering (Civil)
Consultants:Putnam Associates (Specifications)
RW Sullivan (Code)
Solar Design Associates (Renewable Energy)
Contractor:Walsh Brothers, Inc.

This information is provided by the Department of Energy Resources.