Hitchcock Center for the Environment

Amherst, MA

This organization’s mission is to educate and inspire action for a healthy planet and their new 9,000 SF building does just that. The facility offers offices, classrooms, and a resource center for the surrounding community.


This net zero energy building is the 23rd Certified Living Building in the world and the 4th in the state. The center generates its own energy from the sun and captures its own water from the rain. All luminaries used in the building complied with RED list free and regional sourcing requirements. Highly energy efficient lighting design achieving 0.44 w/sf lighting power density was used as well as onsite renewable energy. Our firm’s daylight study completed during the early stages of design achieved 84% sufficient amount of daylight for energy conservation in all regularly occupied spaces.  This facility serves as a teaching tool on the principles of sustainable living. For more information on the sustainable features of this project: 


Certified Living for Achieving the Living Building Challenge
BSA Honor Award for Sustainable Design
MA Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education 

designLAB Architects

Peter Vanderwarker