Green Campus


The Woods Hole Research Center’s Gilman Ordway Campus, in Falmouth, Massachusetts, is a model in its use of energy, water, and environmentally-friendly building materials. Currently, there are 2 buildings on the Ordway Campus.

The Center employed the firm of William McDonough + Partners for the Woodwell Building. The Woodwell Building has been the recipient of numerous awards for “green” building design, including the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects in 2004, a first place in the "Places of Work: Small Buildings" category of the NESEA Green Building Awards in 2004, and an Honorable Mention in Environmental Design & Construction Magazine’s Excellence in Design Awards in 2004.

In anticipation of an expansion of staff size from 45 to 60 employees, the Center acquired an abutting property in 2008 and has undertaken a deep energy retrofit of the structure (originally built as a carriage house and later converted to a three-apartment residence), integrating that with the campus-wide energy strategy. The Center partnered with South Mountain Company (principal John Abrams), a design/build firm based on Martha’s Vineyard.

The Carriage House renovation is a logical extension of the successful approach used for the Woodwell Building. Namely, by further reducing direct HVAC loads through super-insulating the walls and ceiling, heating and cooling equipment needs are reduced. As a result of the reduced heating and cooling loads, smaller, even more efficient mechanical systems are needed, which results in further reductions in electrical usage. In addition, the overall reduced peak heating and cooling loads allow the use of air-source heating and cooling equipment, which is a simpler, less expensive system than the ground-source system needed for the Woodwell Building.

Consistent with the design intent of the Woodwell Building, an integrated design build approach to achieving very high core efficiencies was pursued by employing a super-insulated building envelope, high-performance glazing, energy recovery ventilation, low energy use lighting, and other efficiency strategies. This process resulted in the replacement of the existing oil heating system with an air-source heat pump system.

Similar strategies have been employed in the development of both buildings on the Ordway Campus. Both projects applied proven conservation/building energy design and efficiency principles to reduce energy usage so significantly that CO2-laden fossil sources could be eliminated from the campus. Those principles include:

  • tight envelope
  • high performance windows glazing and doors
  • emphasis on natural lighting
  • operable windows
  • heat recovery ventilation
  • ground source heating and cooling for HVAC loads.

Campus tours are offered for the general public as well as to architects, engineers, and students, from grade school age through college and graduate school. Tours may be arranged by calling Allison White at 508-444-1550.