The24,000 sf John W. Olver Transit Center, a ZeroNet EnergyBuilding, will not only function as anintermodal transit facility and central office but as an important element inthe Town of Greenfield’surban revitalization strategy. Establishing a balance between the progressivenature of the project and its historic New Englandcontext has been a key design concern for the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) and the region’s public. As a recipient of American Recoveryand Reinvestment Act funds, the Authority’s project seeks to revitalize the Greenfield, Massachusettsarea and embrace the latest green technologies in a movement to reinventitself. Charles Rose Architects worked with the FRTA through an iterative designand public meeting process to tie the new structure to adjacent buildings,streets, and the historic downtown through orientation, massing, and materials.
Thebuilding program includes a passenger waiting area, a community meeting room,and offices for the FRTA and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments(FRCOG.) The transit waiting area is flexibly designed to accommodate buspassengers as well as future rail passengers. The bus circulation is close tothe building, taking advantage of the structure’s overhang for a partiallycovered drop-off. The turnaround for buses is located in the southeast cornerof the site and encircles a bio-retention garden. This garden—along with thecafe garden and the entry plaza—are part of a larger effort to connect buildingand site as well as to provide natural, sustainable landscapes where there waspreviously asphalt.
Centralto the project was the creation of a Zero Net Energy Building (ZNEB)—the firstof its kind in the State of Massachusetts. A ZNEB project consumes less energy then it generates over the course of ayear. Here, energy efficiency is achieved through the incorporation ofsuper-insulation and low-transmission glazing. The building will also takeadvantage of passive solar technology, like solar wall and solar hot watersystems to pre-heat air and water, sothe building systems incur less demand. The building design will also employ ageothermalenergy system, a biomass boiler, photovoltaic panels, and chilled beams.Although the FRTA is not seeking LEED certification, the building will bedesigned in an environmentally responsible manner, using usinglow-VOC finishes and recycled materials where possible.