CNS Research & Education Greenhouse

Interior of the College of Natural Sciences Greenhouses

Project Overview

Officially recieved a LEED GOLD Certification (V3) as of January 2013

Completed:  Spring 2011

Architect/Engineer: Payette Associates

Project Manager: Joseph Balzano

Project Purpose

By renovating the existing greenhouse and constructing more than 15,700 square feet of additional laboratory and greenhouse space, the project provides much needed teaching and research facilities for the Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences Department.

The project is composed of two major parts: “Greenhouse” and “Laboratory”. The Greenhouse is an efficient glass and steel research machine.  Sophisticated automated systems control natural and artificial lighting, temperature, humidity, irrigation and fertilization, adapting the interior environment in response to the sun, the wind, and the weather.  The facility maximizes research capability and provides an open, flexible environment for introductory botany instruction. The Laboratory harmonizes with the greenhouse, it’s form suggesting a modern reinterpretation of a New England barn.  Project interiors have a simple, minimal character in keeping with the overall agrarian style.  The Laboratory is a sophisticated research facility, featuring two research labs, a wet/ dry classroom for botany instruction, and a core facility for seed germination. The laboratory also contains the primary mechanical infrastructure for the entire project.

The LEED-registered project reached completion in the summer of 2011.

Sustainability Features

This research facility includes a unique stormwater retention system that surrounds the project. On all sides, a wide bed of gravel is required to isolate the greenhouses from surrounding native plants and grasses and to allow access to critical greenhouse equipment. The project civil engineer increased the depth of the bed from 6 inches to 3 feet. The system will now act as a retention basin, avoiding the need for expensive and disruptive underground cisterns.

Sophisticated heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment mitigate the building's energy use compared to a conventional greenhouse. Modular chillers and a hybrid cooling tower maximize efficiency and opportunities for “free cooling”.

Classrooms, Laboratories and Offices are provided with multi-level switched controlled lighting.  Occupancy sensors are provided for all rooms except Mechanical and Electrical spaces.  Daylight level sensors are provided for spaces with glazing along building perimeter.  Manual override switches are provided for all rooms.  All Exterior outdoor lighting is controlled by photocells in series with programmable time controller and contactor.

Fluorescent lamps are the primary source of building illumination.  Electronic high efficiency ballasts are used to provide full output at reduced wattage.

The Laboratory is served by one custom outdoor air handler with a parallel energy recovery unit in conjunction with an enthalpy wheel. The unit will provide facility with comfort cooling and makeup air to the laboratory rooms, as well as provide overall building pressurization. The air handling unit filters and coils will be designed for low pressure drop for energy savings and energy code compliance.

Related PDF: CNS Research & Education Greenhouse Project Overview SlideShow

Exterior of College of Natural Resources Greenhouses
Exterior of College of Natural Resources Greenhouses as seen from the parking lot
Entrance of College of Natural Resources Greenhouses