Framingham State University – West Hall

To help Framingham State University transition from commuter-only to a residential school, it was decided to locate a six-story building on the West end of campus to accommodate 316 students. The majority of rooms are connected double-double bedroom units with a private bath. There are also connected single-single bedroom units with a private bathroom. The first floor boasts a game room, and the main lounge includes a fireplace and kitchen area for building use. The top floor includes a large media room lounge with tall floor-to-ceiling glass exterior walls. There are also lounges on each floor featuring common seating areas, TVs, and enclosed study lounges. The project established – and achieved – a goal for exceptional energy efficiency and LEED Gold certification but needed to be constructed at a modest budget. It was determined not to be cost effective to extend the campus steam system to service the site, so a local high efficiency, low temperature hot water plant was provided. After much review, it was decided not to provide air conditioning in the residence rooms, but the design included operable windows and natural ventilation provisions to minimize the need for mechanical cooling. Public spaces were provided with variable refrigerant flow (VRF) type cooling systems. The building envelope was designed for very low heat loss, and this allowed for an innovative heating approach. Each residence room was provided with a low temperature hot water radiant heating panel positioned vertically on the interior wall of the room. This heating panel provided for a very warm and uniform mean radiant temperature, improving occupant comfort while using minimum energy. The low temperature water source kept the condensing boiler system operating at the highest possible efficiency. Other energy conserving features included exhaust air heat recovery, demand-controlled ventilation, integrated room ventilation/bathroom make-up air, occupancy sensor-based HVAC control, dryer exhaust heat recovery, shower drainage domestic hot water preheat, low flow shower heads, high efficiency lighting, and daylight dimming in common areas.

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Client: Architect – ARC
Location: Framingham, MA