Water-Testing Lab Is Pure Green

An environmental science lab in Lawrence, Mass., established in 1954, has undergone some major renovations, to the tune of $30 million. Now the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is celebrating the opening of the newly expanded and renovated Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station in Lawrence, which has targeted LEED Platinum.

The star player in the building’s new green profile is a 52.5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system, which generates much of the building’s energy. Open space, rain gardens and detention basins capture stormwater onsite and help to green the surrounding landscape, sans irrigation.

Wall Experiment Station

image via Mass. Department of Environmental Quality

A white, reflective high-performance  roof and green roof work together to reduce the heat-island effect, while rainwater is put to work in flushing toilets and operating the building’s cooling tower. The building realizes 40 percent savings in water with low-flow features, and 21 percent savings in energy use compared to the LEED building baseline, cutting more than $50,000 in costs.  Windows bring daylight to 75 percent of the space, and plug-in charging stations provide juice for two electric vehicles.

The Wall Experiment Station is the state’s  principal drinking water laboratory, performing 15,000 lab analyses of contaminants in water, wastewater, air, soil, hazardous wastes, fish and other samples on an annual basis. The facility also certifies more than 126 commercial and municipal labs to perform compliance analysis for both potable and nonpotable water.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.