The Shields Science Center at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., provides cutting-edge space for integrated science teaching and research in the fields of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, neuroscience, and psychology.
The 89,000-square-foot undergraduate science facility is positioned to attract more science majors. It houses teaching and research labs, associated support spaces, classrooms, offices, and breakout spaces to promote collaboration and interaction, including a large atrium. This large common space encourages student foot traffic and welcomes the greater community.
The building was designed with high goals for sustainability. Energy conservation measures are up to 30 percent above current adopted state energy codes. The local electrical utility, National Grid, assisted in the development of an energy model of the project, which identified a number of sustainable and cost-saving measures. Variable frequency drives were used on air handling fans and pumps. Four air handlers are used to tailor the air flow demands of different spaces. High performance or low flow fume hoods are featured in the chemistry labs. Within the air handlers are components that capture the sensible heat from air being exhausted out of the building and transfer much of it to the incoming air. In addition to benefiting from decreased energy consumption, the reduction in heating and cooling demand allows for the use of smaller equipment that requires less space. These savings in space can translate to a smaller building or more space for academic use.
The two-story space on the south side of the building includes an interactive green roof that was designed as a sustainability laboratory. As it creates thermal mass and evaporative cooling, the vegetated roof reduces the heating and cooling needs of the space below and also slows and filters some of the storm water from the building. This 5,000 square-foot space is heated primarily with radiant glycol flooring, which provides a comfortable means of heat delivery.