UMass Amherst
Dream.  Build.  Achieve.
UMass Seal

Facilities Planning

Building a Better UMass Amherst

Artist's rendering of the ISB interior.



Departmental Building Coordinators Meeting - November 18, 2013.  A PDF of the PowerPoint presentation is available here.


UMass Departmental Building Coordinator's Guide - A PDF version is available here.


Lecture series: "Solving Old Problems with New Ideas"

The lecture series "Solving Old Problems with New Ideas" was produced by the UMass Green Building Committee for the fall 2011 semester. It was the Committee's goal to provide our audience with a broader understanding of high performance buildings, especially within the context of the University's campus. To that end, we invited speakers from a wide range of disciplines - architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, and operations and maintenance - to emphasize the importance of integrating the building trades in the quest for a more sustainable built environment.
The Green Building Committee teamed with Facilities Planning, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Architecture+Design, Campus Planning, the Historic Preservation Initiative of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and Environmental Conservation, to expand our collective knowledge and commitment to sustainability on campus.

The complete lecture series report is available here.

Below are videos of the lectures.

Lecture 1: Michael Leblanc
Next Use Buildings

Speaker Bio:
Michael LeBlanc is a graduate of the UMass Architecture + Design program who now works for Utile, Inc., a Boston design firm "built like a think tank." As a principal for the firm, he has been in charge of numerous institutional, residential, and renovation projects.

Lecture Summary:
The most sustainable building is one that lasts a very long time. In order to last, buildings need to be useful, as well as beautiful. One of the primary strategies to ensure the usefulness of a building is to make it flexible, so that its use can change over time as program and need dictate. Michael's lecture began with a comprehensive survey of Utile's portfolio. He then examined the strengths and limitations of designing buildings for future (unplanned) uses and provided examples of the successful implementation of his ideas.



Lecture 2: Fiona Cousins
Energy in Buildings: An Engineer's Perspective

Speaker Bio:
Fiona Cousins graduated from the University of Cambridge with degrees in Engineering Science and Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment.  After graduating, she joined Arup's London office.  Over the years, she has worked at Arup in a variety of roles and is currently a Principal with the New York office.  She also served for two years as the chair of the New York Chapter of the USGBC, during which time membership tripled and the staff grew from 1 person to 8 people.

Lecture Summary:
Measuring sustainability is tricky and there are many factors to consider. Carbon and energy are two different metrics that can be used, but they must be carefully considered.  In addition, it's important to clarify the boundaries around the site you are measuring. For example, New York City has been touted as a green city, but only because the energy costs of the tens of thousands of trucks entering and exiting the city on a daily basis are left out of the equation.



Lecture 3: Louis Capozzi
Life in a Platinum Green Building

Speaker Bio:
Louis Capozzi has been the Manager of Facilities Engineering at Genzyme Center, a USGBC Platinum-rated green building, for 10 years.  During this time, he has been involved in all aspects of the maintenance of Genzyme's corporate headquarters including all plant utility systems, including electronics, Building Management Systems (BMS), refrigeration, electrical, air, water, and plant steam in strict accordance with standard operating procedures.  A key aspect of the job includes both preventative and corrective maintenance of the facility, while making continuous improvements.

Lecture Summary:
A high performing building is only as good as its operations and maintenance.  The Genzyme Center in Cambridge was designed by Stephan Behnisch to "bring the outdoors in", and it succeeded by incorporating natural ventilation, daylighting, gardens and plant life.  The building has earned LEED Platinum, but unlike some LEED buildings, it achieves deep energy savings year after year.

More Info:



Lecture 4: Jean Carroo
Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings

Speaker Bio:
Jean Carroon, FAIA, LEED AP, is a Principal in Goody Clancy's highly regarded preservation practice, based in Boston. She has earned national recognition for her expertise in applying sustainable-design technology to historic buildings, including more than a dozen National Historic Landmarks. She has directed the adaptive reuse and preservation of signature buildings in a broad range of sectors, including educational, civic and cultural projects for clients such as Harvard University and the National Park Service. She is currently working on the renovation of more than 45 historic structures on the St. Elizabeth's West Campus in Washington, which will become the home of the Department of Homeland Security.

Lecture Summary:
Jean framed her lecture with a quote from John Muir, "Pulling on any strand of nature, we find it connected to everything else."  She presented the preservation of existing buildings as central to the sustainability of our built environment and showed that the embodied energy in new construction is a significant factor when calculating the impact of development.

More Info:



Lecture 5: Lucinda Sanders
Scales of Resilience

Speaker Bio:
Lucinda Sanders earned a master's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, studying under Ian McHarg, Robert Hanna, and Laurie Olin.  At OLIN, Lucinda continues to fulfill her societal and environmental interests through projects such as Presidio Main Parade and Rincon Park in San Francisco, Robert F. Wagner Park and museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and Comcast Center Plaza in Philadelphia.  Lucinda teaches graduate design studios and a seminar on topics in professional practice at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is an adjunct professor.

Lecture Summary:
Lucinda's lecture organized nine of her firm's projects into five archetypes:

  • Spot: Local impact, occupants of a structure, development driven by an owner.
  • Core: Urban impact, occurs at moments of transition within the transportation infrastructure.
  • Patch: Universities/cities, social/environmental impact, projects are part of a system.
  • Strand: Dominant movement, plugging into an existing system, cities control project.
  • Warp+Weft: Large territory, urban waterfronts, multiple coexisting uses, complex ownership.

More Info:



Lecture 6: Bruce Coldham
The Living Building Challenge: Why Bother?

Speaker Bio:
Bruce Coldham has run his own architectural practice in Amherst, MA since 1989.  He has been an active member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) since 1984, both as chair of its board of directors and as chair of the influential Building Energy Conference.  Bruce was an active member of Governor Deval Patrick's Zero Net Energy Building Task Force and continues as a member of the Massachusetts Zero Net Energy Building Advisory Council.  In February of 2010, Bruce was elected to the AIA College of Fellows.  His firm, Coldham and Hartman, is dedicated to producing high performing, green buildings.

Lecture Summary:
Bruce is in the first year of a three year project for Smith College that is being designed and built to the rigorous standards of the Living Building Challenge (LBC).  The building - the Bechtel Environmental Center - will have net zero energy and net zero water, as well as meet numerous other criteria to achieve LBC Certification. Bruce spoke of the many uncertainties that come with designing to a relatively new green building certification program (the Living Building Challenge was officially created in 2006 and only three buildings had earned the certification at the time of his lecture.)

More Info:




UMass Green Building Committee Publishes 2011 Guidelines

[Note: this information is also available in a PDF press release.]

The UMass Green Building Committee, a cross-disciplinary group comprised of faculty, staff, and students and chaired by Jim Cahill, director of UMass Amherst Facilities Planning, has announced the publication of the Green Building Guidelines for 2011.

The Green Building Guidelines outline and prioritize the strategies for sustainability that are most important to the UMass Amherst campus.  The Guidelines use the US Green Building Council's LEED rating system as a framework and address sustainable site development, water efficiency, materials and resource use, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency.  Design teams for all new UMass Amherst buildings are using these guidelines to design a greener campus.

In 2007, University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment.  The same year, University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Thomas Cole established the Environmental Performance Advisory Committee (EPAC) to assess ways to reduce the environmental impacts of the campus.  In 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed Executive Order 484 which included the provision that all state buildings be certified under the LEED rating system.  At the same time, UMass Amherst made the commitment to achieve LEED-Silver or better for all new construction and major renovations.  In 2010, EPAC created the Green Building Committee to focus efforts on sustainable design and building on campus.

During the summer of 2010, the Green Building Committee met biweekly to produce a document which is based on, but not limited to, the LEED for New Construction rating system.  The committee reviewed the LEED credits and prerequisites and established priority and feasibility levels for each based on the environmental realities and mission of the University.

The Green Building Guidelines provide a framework for approaching new construction and major renovation at UMass Amherst by focusing the conversation on the aspects of green building most important to the campus.  They are intended to be the beginning of a dynamic conversation between designers, UMass stakeholders, and users of new buildings.  LEED points are not the end goal of these guidelines; rather, they will be a by-product of the design of high performance buildings.

The Green Building Guidelines are available here.  More information can be obtained by contacting UMass Amherst green building researcher Lawson Wulsin at 413-577-1787 or

Lederle GRC Construction Project Overview, 2011-2012

An overview of several projects taking place at Lederle GRC this year and next was presented by Facilities Planning project managers Joe Balzano and Peter Gray-Mullen on October 27, 2010.  This is a PDF version of their PowerPoint presentation.

Du Bois Peregrines

If you've ever been walking past the Du Bois Library and noticed the majestic, graceful creatures riding the wind above, or happen to be standing in proximity when a feathered rocket shoots by en route to turning an unsuspecting pigeon or chipmunk into an evening meal, take a look at these pictures of the UMass peregrine falcon "Class of 2010."  They were taken in late May by our own Richard Natthorst who is active in the birds' care, monitoring and habitat.

Information Session on Roundabout Design, Impact and Construction as Part of the Northeast Utilities Project

As part of the Northeast Utilities Project in the North Pleasant Street / Eastman Lane / Governors Drive area of campus, the University is planning to replace the current (temporary) intersection configuration with a roundabout. 

Extensive traffic studies indicate that a roundabout design would not only result in greater safety to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, but would also be more efficient than a conventional "turning-lane" intersection in terms of traffic flow and reduced wait times.  By slowing vehicle speeds and reducing idling and stop-start cycles, the roundabout design has the added environmental benefit of reducing vehicle emissions and noise. 

Joseph Wanat, consulting traffic engineer with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., gave an in-depth presentation to interested parties on Wednesday, April 28.  This is the PDF version of his PowerPoint presentation.

Click for large format poster

Seminar Series: Designing for Sustainability in the Built Environment

New campus facilities must be designed to high energy efficiency and sustainability (i.e. LEED) standards, according to state regulations governing the construction of new public buildings. Designing university classrooms, laboratories, and administrative offices for energy efficiency is a complicated practice that requires ongoing research and innovation. The benefits can be dramatic. By incorporating the principles of sustainability in the built environment, facilities planners and design consultants are slashing resource consumption, reducing the University's carbon footprint, and improving environmental quality. New campus construction projects represent a largely untapped source of opportunities for education, research, and public outreach. The seminar series kicks off a campus-wide dialogue about these exciting and far-reaching projects. Each panel discussion features facilities planning/design professionals and a University of Massachusetts Amherst academic researcher.

Following are seminar presentations in PDF format:

February 25
James Cahill, Facilities Planning - Sustainable Design at UMass Amherst
David Damery, Dept. of Natural Resources Conservation - Sustainability and Green Building Education at UMass Amherst

March 11
James Hannifan, Caolo & Bienek Assoc., and Steve Kemp, Enermodal Engineering, Ltd. -  Monitoring for Sustainability: Data Acquisition in the Built Environment

March 25
Robert Schaeffner and Gary Cabo, Payette - Heat Recovery - Efficiency and Safety

April 15
Jack Ahern, Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning - Rain Gardens and Stormwater Management

April 29

Samir Srouji of Wilson Architects, Chris Schaffner of The Green Engineers, and Ray Mann of the UMass Department of Architecture and Design - Exterior Facade Design for Maximum Daylighting and Solar Power Generation

For more information, contact Ludmilla Pavlova, UMass Campus Planning, at or (413) 577-1720.

Southwest Concourse Replacement Presentation to the Executive Oversight Committee

A presentation in PDF format made by Stephen Stimson Associates and SEA Consultants, Inc. in August, 2009 depicting the transformation of the Southwest Concourse including conceptual framework, site plan and material selection, site logistic, storm water management, planting concepts and lighting.

Building Information Modeling Symposium Presentations Available

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is undergoing a large capital construction program. While much of the work has already been put in place, more capital improvements are planned over the next few years. Similar construction programs are being planned at other campuses within the University system and at other State colleges in Massachusetts. To better respond to the demands of such construction programs and the need for greater control, coordination and project integration, a symposium was held on June 27 to tap industry experts for a lively discussion on the benefits and challenges of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) delivery method.

The Symposium was designed around a Panel of Experts from selected owner's groups, architectural/engineering, construction management and related consulting firms who have utilized BIM for design, construction coordination and facilities management purposes. The event was attended by facility management professionals from University of Massachusetts system, staff of the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management, representatives of the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, facilities managers from the Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke and Smith college campuses, and members of the design and construction community that serves the UMass system.

PowerPoint presentations and audio files from the symposium are available here.

For more information, contact Ludmilla Pavlova, UMass Amherst Facilities & Campus Planning, at (413) 577-1720 or

Green Building Design Presentation to the Environmental Performance Advisory Committee (EPAC)
PowerPoint presentation (in web page/HTML format) of Green Building Design made before the the Environmental Performance Advisory Committee on April 30, 2008.  The presentation is also available in its original PowerPoint (*.ppt) format; right-click and choose "Save Target As..." HERE to download the 41MB file.

Pleasant Street Improvement Plan Presentation to the Faculty Senate
PowerPoint presentation (in web page/HTML format) of the Pleasant Street Improvement Plan made before the Faculty Senate on February 28, 2008.  The presentation is also available in its original PowerPoint (*.ppt) format; right-click and choose "Save Target As..." HERE to download the 11MB file.

CLIP Presentation to the Faculty Senate
PowerPoint presentation (in web page/HTML format) of the Campus Landscape Improvement Plan (CLIP) made before the Faculty Senate on December 18, 2007.  The presentation is also available in its original PowerPoint (*.ppt) format; right-click and choose "Save Target As..." HERE to download the 40MB file.

FC&P Construction Cost Symposium White Paper
Facilities & Campus Planning hosted a "Construction Cost Symposium" in March that brought together industry leaders to discuss the best ways to predict and control project construction costs.  A white paper review and synopsis of the event has now been made available.