Pro Tour of Two Living Building Challenge Projects

Hitchcock Center for the Environment
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA
Friday, September 18, 2015

On 9/18/15, NESEA held a Pro Tour of two projects under construction on the Hampshire College campus in Amherst, MA, designed to meet the rigorous standards of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). There are currently only eight certified LBC projects in the world.

The tour of the first site, the 17,000 square-foot R.W. Kern Center, was led by members of the project team. In the fall of 2015, Hampshire College broke ground on the Kern Center, its first new building in decades. Upon its completion, the Kern Center will be a multifunctional learning, teaching, and exhibition space; the point of entry for prospective students and their families into the Hampshire community; and the location of the admissions financial aid and new student programs offices. Project completion is scheduled for the winter of 2016.

The tour of the second site, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, was led by members of the project team, including Construction Manager Wright Builders of Northampton, designLAB Architects of Boston, and Julie Johnson, Executive Director of the Hitchcock Center. The new 9,000 square-foot building will be New England's first public environmental education center to meet the LBC (version 2.1). The building will more than double the Center’s capacity to host programs for all ages, while also being a one-of-a-kind teaching tool. The new “living” Hitchcock Center is designed to model and mimic natural systems with interpretive and interactive exhibits, and will be an extension of Hitchcock’s mission to create a healthier more sustainable future. The building will be completed in the summer of 2016. More information:

The event concluded with an overview of LBC, and a Q&A-style panel of members from the project teams.

CEUs: 2.5 AIA LU/HSW, 2.5 GBCI and certificates of participation are available

Member registration: $25 | Non-member registration: $35

Project Details:

Site 1: R.W. Kern Center

  • Designed to meet the exacting standards of the Living Building Challenge

  • Net-zero energy, waste, and water

  • Will house the admissions office, financial aid, new student programs, a welcoming lobby for community members and visitors, a cafe, as well as multipurpose classroom and gallery space

Site 2: Hitchcock Center for the Environment

  • 9,000 square-foot public environmental education center, the first in New England to  meet the LBC

  • Will remediate an arsenic-contaminated site resulting from historical pesticide use on an apple orchard, in complying with the conditions of LBC

  • Will supply 100% of the project's water needs through recaptured precipitation or other natural closed-loop water systems

  • Will supply 100% of the project's energy needs through on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis, without the use of on-site combustion


12:30-1:00 PM

Doors open, check in at meeting point

1:00-1:45 PM

Welcome by NESEA, overview of the project specs for both sites

1:45-2:00 PM

Walk to Site 1 (R.W. Kern Center)

2:00-3:00 PM

Tour Site 1 in three groups

3:00-3:15 PM

Walk to Site 2 (Hitchcock Center for the Environment)

3:15-4:15 PM

Tour Site 2 in three groups

4:15-4:45 PM

Reception with light refreshments

4:45-5:30 PM

Overview of LBC, high-level panel-style Q&A

5:30 PM

Event concludes - adjourn to Moan & Dove for informal continuation of event



Thanks to our 2015 Pro Tour Series Sponsor!


Event Sponsors