The Path to Zero Net Energy: Bristol Community College, John J. Sbrega Health & Science Building

On Thursday, August 4, 2016 Sales Engineer, Tom Proietti attended the International Institute of Sustainable Laboratories’ New England Chapter’s tour of the John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA. During the tour, Tom had the opportunity to learn about all the planning and resources that went into building this state-of-the-art science lab, one of which happens to be Aircuity (our facility monitoring, efficient building ventilation system). He also learned of the challenges they faced on the path to achieving Zero Net Energy. Below consists of a summary of facility/project facts he learned, as well as some pictures he was able to take…

South View

South view of John J. Sbrega Health & Science Building



Name: John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building

Location: Fall River, Massachusetts

Owner: Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance/Bristol Community College

Use: College Academic Building- includes instructional wet labs (biology, biotech, microbiology, chemistry, dental hygiene and clinical laboratory science) and dry labs (nursing and medical assisting); teaching clinic (dental hygiene); office spaces and study space


  • Peak Transient Occupancy 292
  • Daily Average 250, FTE 28
  • Total Peak Building Users (FTE + Peak Transient) 320

Gross Square Footage: 50,628

MEP Space: 7,180 (14% of GSF)

NASF: 27,375

Efficiency: 0.54


  • 2014
    • MA DOER Leading by Example Award
    • ASHRAE Region 1 Award for Engineering Excellence
    • 2014 Community College Futures Assembly Bellwether Award Finalist2015NACUBO Innovation Award
  • 2015
    • NACUBO Innovation Award
    • MA DOER Renewable Energy Grant
    • MA DOER Pathways to Zero Grant


    campus plan

    John J. Sbrega Building viewed on Bristol CC’s campus plan.


LEED: Platinum (tracking); currently in review for Design credits

Building cost (excluding site work): $29.5M

Building cost per square foot: $582

Total Site Improvement Cost: $800K

Start of Construction Activities: July 2014

Substantial Completion/Occupancy: July 2016


Annual water use: 93,000 gal/yr


Building Energy Use Intensity (EUI): 51 kBtu/sf-yr (all electricity from PV)

Electricity from roof PV: 65,000 kWh

Electricity generated from campus PV: 720,000 kWh

Percent of campus PV use: 20%+/-

Domestic hot water from solar hot water system: 265 therms (100% of domestic hot water use)

Renewable energy carbon footprint offset: 745,000 lbs CO2/yr

Annual Energy Cost intensity (ECI): 1.6$/sf

Savings vs 90.1-2007 baseline: 100% (with renewables), 70% (without renewables)

Heating Degree Days (65°F base): 5,884

Cooling Degree Days (50°F base): 2,743

Operating hours per week: 72path to zne


Ventilation: Natural ventilation, filtration fume hoods, air quality monitoring

Heating and Cooling: Hybrid air source-ground source heat pump; local cooling by fan coil units; heating with perimeter fin tube radiation; wider interior temperature range; enhanced monitoring and verification

Daylighting: Atrium clerestory; daylight sensing

Lighting/Plug Loads: Lighting Power Density reduced 50%; plug loads reduced/right-sized

Envelope: Envelope commissioning; shading; high performance glazing; minimal thermal bridging; blower door test

Renewable Energy: Rooftop and site PV arrays; solar thermal domestic hot water

Site: Footprint on a previously disturbed site

level 1 layout

Level 1 layout

level 2 layout

Level 2 layout

Transportation: Conduit installed for EV charging stations; spaces reserved for low emission vehicles; bicycle racks and shower facilities

Stormwater Management: Vegetated roof; bioretention basins; infiltration swales; detention facility

Water Conservation: No irrigation; low flow fixtures

Materials: Low VOC materials; 20% regional materials; 20% recycled content, FSC wood, 95% recycled construction waste

Recycling: Accumulation roon

Education: Public touch-screen monitor displaying real-time performance


Bristol ZNE Design

Strategies and technologies


  • Types:
    • A: Metal decking, 4″ min. insulation
    • B: Wood decking, 4″ min. insulation
    • C: Concrete, 4″ min. insulation
  • Overall R-value: 22.2
  • Solar Reflectance:
    • Modified Bituminous Membrane: 0.73
    • Thermoplastic Membrane: 0.50


  • Types:
    • A: Masonry on concrete
    • B: Masonry on metal stud
    • C: Wood on concrete
    • D: Wood on metal stud
    • E: Exposed CIP concrete
    • F: Metal panel on metal stud
    • G: Cement board on metal stud
  • Overall R-value:
    • A: 12.6
    • B: 20.6
    • C: 12.6
    • D: 20.3
    • E: 11.0
    • F: 20.3
    • G: 20.3
  • Glazing Pct.: 22%


  • Glass Type:
    • A: Clear vision
    • B: 40% frit
    • C: 50% frit
  • Winter U-value:
    • A: 0.29
    • B: 0.29
    • C: 0.29
  • Summer U-value:
    • A: 0.27
    • B: 0.26
    • C: 0.26
  • Solar Heat Gain Coeff.:
    • A: 0.28
    • B: 0.20
    • C: 0.19
  • Visual Transmittance:
    • A: 55%
    • B: 36%
    • C: 32%


  • Latitude: 41° 43′ 14″ N
  • Orientation: ESE-WNW
fume hoods

Fume hoods in one of the lab spaces


Aircuity sensor suite

Aircuity sensor suite

Tom thoroughly enjoyed the tour and was happy to see the project completed. For more information about Aircuity, or how are other products and systems can help you achieve Zero Net Energy for your facility reach out to us today! Be sure to visit the resource center on our website for white papers, case studies, articles, etc. To stay up-to-date on industry events and tours such as this one make sure to follow us on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

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