November 8, 2022

The WELL Platinum Lab at EMD Serono

Michael Munn, LEED AP, WELL Faculty, CPHC
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The new Horizon Building at EMD Serono’s Research & Development Hub in Billerica, MA, achieved Platinum level WELL Certification™️ through the International WELL Building Institute (and Gold level LEED Certification through the US Green Building Council (USGBC)). It is one of only three WELL Certified™️ projects in Massachusetts to reach the Platinum level designation.

The 142,000 SF facility was designed to achieve the highest standards in health & wellness and environmental performance while encouraging research innovation. The building houses research labs, work spaces built for collaboration, and a new campus café.

Some of the notable health & wellness features incorporated in the design of the Horizon building include:

  • A connection to nature through biophilic design, interior plantings, and surrounding pollinator-focused landscaping, the latter certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council.
  • Art from local artists meaningfully integrated into the project. A local sculptor furnished the statement water feature sculpture representing interconnectedness. Art installed around the project was sourced from Artlifting, a program that supports artists impacted by housing insecurity and disabilities by helping them create and sell art.
  • Lighting that was carefully designed to provide occupants with ambient circadian lighting in their workspaces to support healthy sleep cycles. This lighting upholds the hormonal response for alertness during the day provided by natural daylight. The building design alsoincorporates ample daylighting throughout.
  • Passive exercise is facilitated through the inclusion of prominent, open stairways in the building design, and the encouragement of their use. These stairways in conjunction with the pedestrian bridges that connect the campus buildings serve to encourage occupant circulation and movement in conjunction with user-friendly building accessibility.

The project is also notable from a health & wellness standpoint for EMD Serono’s commitment to supporting all parties involved inthe project. An emphasis was placed not only on the building occupants themselves, but on construction worker safety and the quality of working conditions.

The Horizon Building is also targeting LEED v4 Gold certification. Notable sustainability features include:

  1. Grid Harmonization: By incorporating control sequences to support the electrical grid during peak hourly and seasonal periods, the project can lower EMD Serono’s energy consumption and provide important support to the electrical grid.
  2. Innovation in Design: The project’s Innovation in Design credits showcase the team’s desire to advance sustainability. The LEED Innovation credits achieved for the project are:
  • Innovation: Design for Active Occupants
  • Pilot Credit: Designing with Nature, Biophilic Design for the Indoor Environment
  • Pilot Credit: Social Equity within the Project Team
  • Pilot Credit: Integrative Analysis of Building Materials
  • Pilot Credit: Prevention Through Design 

The Green Engineer provided sustainable design consulting services on this project. Our scope included WELL Certification project management, LEED Certification project management, daylighting analysis, and lifecycle analysis.

Other AEC team members who also contributed to the Horizon Building’s success as a model for health &wellness and sustainability are:


Lead Architect: PM Group

Interior Architect: Intec Group

MEP Engineer: BR+A

Civil / Landscape Engineer: BSC Group

Lighting Designer: Phil Infurna, Interstate Electrical Services

Structural Engineer: LeMessurier

Construction Manager: Erland Construction

Artist/Sculptor: Gints Ginsberg

Acoustical Engineer: Acentech

Commercial Kitchen: L2M

Food Service: Compass USA

Janitorial: UG2

HVAC Commissioning Agent: Arup

Building Envelope CxA: Building Restoration Services

WELL Performance Verification: Catalyst Partners





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