The University of Massachusetts College of Natural Sciences (CNS) Greenhouse and Laboratory was awarded LEED Gold Certification in January 2013, after successfully achieving their sustainability goals while still meeting the needs of a high-tech research facility.
The greenhouses contain multiple research compartments, each capable of supporting separate experimental environments. The houses feature automated systems to control natural and artificial lighting, temperature, humidity, irrigation, and fertilization. The laboratory, designed to reflect the look and feel of a New England barn, features two research labs and a core facility for seed germination.
Photo by Warren Jagger
Stormwater management was one of the greatest challenges facing the project team in achieving LEED certification, but they came up with a creative solution. The greenhouse required a 6-in deep gravel bed to isolate the greenhouse from surrounding native plant life. This gravel bed was increased to a depth of 3 feet to act simultaneously as a barrier and water retention basin, eliminating the need for gutters or an underground water storage structure.