Wellesleys Global Flora greenhouse can generate all of its own energy

Boston-based architecture firm Kennedy & Violich Architecture has
flipped the script for energy-intensive greenhouses with the
net-zero energy Global Flora, a sustainable botanical facility for
Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Engineered to exceed the Net
Zero Water & Energy requirements of the Living Building
Challenge, Global Flora will follow passive solar principles and
draw on geothermal energy. The botanical facility will also be
integrated with an open-source Interactive Sensor Platform to allow
people to gather and share real-time data about the plants,
including their soil, water and air conditions.

round greenhouse section with wood paneling

The Global Flora botanical facility builds on the legacy of Dr.
Margaret Ferguson, who, in the 1920s, emphasized plant biology as a
central part of science education and encouraged Wellesley College
students to “listen to†plants and learn through hands-on
interdisciplinary experiences. The new greenhouse will serve as a
botany lab and “museum†for the college and will also be
available and free to the public. The gathered data from the
open-source Interactive Sensor Platform will be accessible to
public schools and international research universities as well.


Related: Resurrected greenhouse to honor father of modern
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greenhouse with multiple floors covered in plants

rounded structure with glass wall revealing large tree growing inside

Located next to the existing visitor center, Global Flora will
comprise Dry and Tropical biomes separated by interior
ETFE partitions. Unlike most
greenhouses, Wellesley College’s botanical facility is almost
completely closed off on the north side with a gabion wall filled
with local and reclaimed stone to eliminate almost all heat loss
through surfaces that don’t receive direct sunlight. Energy
recovery units, geothermal-powered radiant heating and cooling and
vertical water features help create local microclimates and keep
energy use to a minimum. The greenhouse also includes stormwater
retention tanks.

room with concrete walls, a wood bench and a tree growing in the center of the room

greenhouse with two sidewalks leading throughout the plants

In addition to the Dry and Tropical biomes that cover a variety
of plant habitats from deserts to mangroves,
Global Flora includes a seasonal Camellia Pavilion on the northeast
side that houses the college’s iconic Durant Camellia tree, which
is over 140 years old.

+ Kennedy & Violich
Architecture

Images via Kennedy & Violich Architecture

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
Wellesleys Global Flora greenhouse can generate all of its
own energy