The 12-story, 350,000-square-foot Genzyme Center is powered by renewable energy sources and controlled by a $2.3 million integrated building automation system.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The new headquarters building of Genzyme Corp., a leader in biotechnology, is a "green" facility. It is powered by renewable energy sources and controlled by a $2.3 million integrated building automation system (BAS). The center has combined sophisticated technology and innovative design to become one of the most environmentally responsible office buildings in the country.

The design of the 12-story, 350,000-square-foot center here in Cambridge focused on not only lowering operational, maintenance, and energy costs, but also on providing a work environment that caters to the human need for fresh air and natural light. The corporation selected the Systems Integration group of TAC, Dallas, to implement an integrated systems solution.

The building's environmental requirements translated into a variety of challenging design specifications. There are movable mirrors placed on the roof to direct sunlight inside, blinds programmed to follow the sun and then close at night, and operable windows so employees might let in fresh air.

The project team faced plenty of challenges, from integrating different systems and leveraging the corporate virtual private network (VPN), to adjusting to cultural differences and communicating among far-flung team members in Germany, Massachusetts, New York, and Los Angeles.

Shown is the atrium of the Genzyme Center. The center was awarded the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s highest LEED rating — Platinum.


The controls manufacturer proposed a building controls solution that combined its Andover Continuum® building control products, with its Report Suite for measuring and reporting energy trends.

"The system provides interoperability among multiple systems, making the facility easier to operate and maintain," said David Berardi, vice president Systems Integration-East, TAC. "These sophisticated controls allow the building to achieve significant energy savings. The measurements supplied by Report Suite are required for obtaining the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] rating."

The fully programmable control system leverages a Windows® NT front-end workstation, which is connected directly to Genzyme's Ethernet VPN. This configuration enables Genzyme to monitor and manage a wide range of operations, including HVAC equipment, chiller-boiler interfaces, CO/CO2 levels, rainwater collection, artificial lighting, opening-closing windows and blinds, door controls, and building-tenant metering.

"The [BAS] controllers interface with lighting components to yield significant savings by eliminating the need for a separate network system to handle the lighting," said Lou Capozzi, facilities engineering, Genzyme. "In addition, TAC's Smart Sensors give employees individual room control for HVAC and lighting."

Natural Benefits

"The system also operates the sophisticated mirrors on the building's roof, called heliostats, that track the path of the sun and reflect the light into the central atrium that floods the building's interior with natural light," Capozzi continued.

The BAS integrates Genzyme Center's various systems, "to lower operational and energy costs while maximizing natural energy sources such as wind, rain, and natural light," said Steve Moran, facilities engineering manager, Genzyme. "By designing a facility that provides fresh air and natural light, we expect the payback on our investment to lead to employees who are happy and motivated at work."

Genzyme's efforts have already earned the building Platinum certification, the highest LEED rating available. The center is one of only 13 buildings to receive this rating.

Publication date: 01/30/2006