Crotty Hall, Amherst, MA, USA

Crotty Hall

The new office building for the Economics Department is designed to be a net-zero energy building, accomplished by integrating the philosophy of energy demand reduction, system optimization, and renewable energy generation, within the overall architectural language.
Integrated passive design strategies such as orientation-specific high-performance façades for the north and south facing offices, glazing optimized for maximum daylight harvesting with seasonally controlled solar heat gains, and natural cross-ventilation by a meticulously designed airflow path reduce overall energy demand. Crotty Hall is primarily a wood-frame building with concrete topping floor supported on cross-laminated Timber (CLT). This combination of CLT with exposed concrete floor thermal mass is estimated to reduce Life-cycle Green House Gas Emission of the building compared to an all concrete or all wood-frame building by 35%. A dedicated outside air system provides fresh air to all regularly occupied spaces when the building is not in natural ventilation mode, and suspended "radiant waves" provide heating and cooling to individual spaces. The radiant wave is an innovative hydronic heating/cooling technology with almost two times more capacity than a suspended radiant panel system due to increased convection from the wave-like profile. The visible nature of this mechanical system helps nurture curiosity and bring awareness to the high-performance net-zero design. A ground source heat pump connected with a vertical closed-loop geothermal field will produce hot and chilled water for the heating and cooling needs, while the roof-mounted PV array will produce enough electricity to cover the building’s total electricity demand. The final predicted energy use intensity (EUI) is 15 kBtu/ft²/year (45 kWh/m²/year).
Transsolar developed the net-zero energy strategy and helped integrate them in the overall architectural design. This includes a workshop to educate building occupants and provide simple tools that help to control the local environment. A post-occupancy commissioning to fine-tune the building’s operation with its design intent will make Crotty Hall one of the few measured net-zero energy buildings in the US.

Crotty Hall
Crotty Hall
Crotty Hall
Crotty Hall
Crotty Hall
Crotty Hall