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Missisquoi NWR Headquarters and Visitor Contact Station
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 29 Tabor Road
Swanton, VT 05488
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Headquarters and Visitor Contact Station achieves lasting results in energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, environmentally preferable materials, and recycled content materials. Energy conserving and renewable energy features of the Missisquoi NWR facility include a southeastern orientation; a well-insulated building envelope; extensive use of natural day-lighting; a geothermal heating ventilation and air conditioning system; a photovoltaic solar array; a wind turbine; and energy-efficient lighting, including timers and a light-dimming system controlled by the amount of external daylight. Rooms have motion-detection devices that shut lights off when the room is no longer occupied, and the building features energy-efficient casement style windows with triple glazing. 

The building orientation is amenable to day-lighting and passive solar heating. The stone walls help absorb solar radiation in the winter and also reduce temperature swings in the space. To avoid adding summer cooling load, glazing for effective day-lighting has been orientated close to true south. The building overhangs extend out to point 30 degrees from the bottom of the glazed opening to be effective at limiting solar gain during the summer. Light colored decking and roofing materials are provided so that reflected light can increase indirect daylight contribution. Large glass areas of the facade are designed as a passive solar feature, warming the stone floor and wall surfaces that radiate heat to the interior.

Efficiency Vermont agreed to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to reduce the electric use and costs on the Missisquoi NWR project. Early in the project planning phase, the Service's design team met with Efficiency Vermont to review and develop energy-efficient options for the new refuge headquarters and visitor contact station facility. Efficiency Vermont is an independent statewide utility that was established to deliver energy efficiency services to the people of Vermont. Efficiency Vermont provided up to $7,000 in financial incentives to the Service, through a formal incentive agreement, for the installation of the following energy saving measures:


1. A high efficiency lighting system throughout the new building.

2. Occupancy sensors to control lighting in the multipurpose room, conference room, volunteer room, men's room, and women's room.

3. A daylight dimming system in the exhibit area.

4. A high efficiency HVAC system, including geothermal ground water cooling.


The Service's design team also partnered with Efficiency Vermont for technical advice in developing geothermal, solar, and wind alternative energy systems for the new facility.


Geothermal energy used at the facility consists of a groundwater cooled HVAC system that has been incorporated into the building construction to lower energy consumption and reduce operating costs. It is fortunate that the site has a well that can provide a yield of up to 150 gallons per minute of groundwater that has a constant temperature range between 52 to 56 degrees. This abundant groundwater source provides the opportunity to cool the building geo-thermally. The HVAC system design includes 14 horizontal concealed fan coil units for utilizing the geo-thermally cooled ground water. These fan coil units were sized by the designer to maximize cooling capacity to meet sensible dry cooling needs.

The facility takes advantage of solar energy through a roof-mounted 15kW photovoltaic solar array with grid-tied battery-less inverters that will provide an estimated 15,600 kWh/year of electrical power. The inverter is connected to the main building panel to allow for its direct connection to the utility grid.    


In 2009, a 10 kW wind turbine will be installed, which will be mounted on an 80-foot tower with a grid-tied battery-less inverter to provide an estimated 6,600 kWh per year of electrical power. The inverter will be connected to the main building panel to allow for its direct connection to the utility grid.


The Service also uses a small amount of biomass energy, in the form of an EPA-approved wood stove that is available to provide additional heat to the building.

In addition to different forms of renewable energy, water conservation and recharge are important features of the facility. Geothermal well water and runoff from road and parking hard surfaces is directed to a series of recharge basins seeded with moisture-loving native plants. Both cleaning and recharge begin as the water moves through several basins. 


In the restrooms, low-flush toilets and waterless urinals minimize the amount of water sent to the on-site subsurface wastewater treatment system. 


The Missiquoi NWR Headquarters and Visitor Contact Station promotes energy conservation with a display. Visitors to the facility learn about the sustainable features of the building. They also receive suggestions on ways to save energy in their homes.


"Missisquoi NWR's Headquarters and Visitor Contact Station sets an example to follow with the use of four types of renewable energy: solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass."

-- Liz Dawson, Architect, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Federal Building

Building Owner:*
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Property Manager:*
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2009 (88)

Facility Type: Office

Total Floorspace: 7250 sf

Year Constructed: 2006

Contract Type: None

Technologies Used:
   Stage 1-Recommissioning
   Stage 2-Lighting
   Stage 3-Load Reductions
   Other Technologies/Strategies