EH&E Leads Commissioning Efforts for Cutting-Edge Volpe Center in Kendall Square

Project Detail
Boston, MA
John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

In the heart of Kendall Square, a hub for innovation, the U.S. Department of Transportation opened the doors of its cutting-edge research center in September 2023. The new John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center is an energy-efficient, 13-story building designed to foster technology innovation and collaboration in a more open public setting, compared to its previous gated-campus environment.

EH&E was selected to commission the Volpe Center because of our proven expertise in both commissioning and construction project management – a perfect fit for this ambitious project. EH&E commissioned Volpe’s electrical, mechanical, fire, plumbing, security, AV system, landscape irrigation, and point-of-all take systems for a project that reduced the federal footprint from about 14 acres to four acres; six buildings to one. The government gained a state-of-the-art facility, and MITIMCo will redevelop the remaining property.

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The commissioning team’s project management and communication skills were integral to driving the schedule, keeping everyone accountable and on track, and managing subcontractors. Cost savings on equipment and future maintenance were achieved through EH&E’s design review that identified opportunities to streamline and simplify overly complex systems while still meeting energy codes and the required energy output. The Volpe Center is pursuing LEED certification.

Conceived as a vertical campus, the project brought the entirety of the U.S. DOT’s Volpe Center under one roof, with laboratories, data centers, offices, and amenities that were once spread across several structures. The 400,000-square-foot building was constructed using unitized systems that offer the advantages of speed and lower field-installation costs, and significantly improved quality control.

EH&E provided the building envelope commissioning services, which required daily oversight as 25, 2,000 lb. window panels were installed daily. EH&E identified nearly 1,600 commissioning action items and nearly all were resolved at project turnover drastically reducing the number of costly call backs or rework. EH&E’s strength in project management greatly contributed to the high percentage of action items resolved.

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