Global Flora Margaret Ferguson Greenhouses, Wellesley, MA, USA

Global Flora Margaret Ferguson Greenhouses

Global Flora builds on the Ferguson Greenhouses Complex from the 1920s on the Wellesley College campus. The new greenhouse will be a platform for student engagement with nature and research that underpins progress in sustainability. The design of Global Flora focuses on achieving the least possible impact on the natural environment while ensuring and enhancing plant growing conditions and high experiential quality for researchers and visitors.

Transsolar developed and optimized technologies and strategies to enhance the greenhouse design towards those goals, using its expertise in building simulation tools. Building shape, material selection and orientation of transparent facades are optimized for maximizing solar gains and daylight by reducing the heat losses through the building envelope. To support the architectural vision of a lightweight double layer ETFE-roof, Transsolar developed and verified an engineered natural ventilation concept with motorized opening vents where exhaust fans were omitted.

Appropriate summer conditions for plants and humans will be achieved without mechanical cooling only by using passive strategies such as thermal mass, shading and elevated air speed. Global Flora was originally designed as Net-Zero Energy Greenhouse, generating all energy on site (using Geothermal and Photovoltaic). Ultimately, it was decided to connect Global Flora to the Campus district heating network, which will be transitioned towards Net-Zero Energy within the next 30 years.

2017 LafargeHolcim Award, Bronze