Mount Holyoke College – Dormitory Envelope Upgrades

Mount Holyoke campus, in South Hadley, MA, is home to several stately, historic stone dormitory buildings. While the beauty of these structures enriches the character of the school, their energy performance did not support the institution’s sustainability goals, nor contribute positively to their budget.

C&H put on our Energy Consultant caps to work with the College in executing a plan to tackle the first wave of upgrades to these historic building envelopes.

Project Details

  • The work was focused on air sealing and insulating of attic spaces. This was done by creating a continuous air barrier at the ceiling plane to the top conditioned story, and filling the attic floor with R-60 of loose fill cellulose insulation.
  • The College monitors opening and closing of steam heating valves. Post-work observation revealed an approximately 30% reduction in the release of steam, due to reduced overheating, and subsequent window opening at upper floors. This was achieved though diminished stack effect, the tendency of hot air to rise, exacerbated by high pressure differentials due to poor air sealing and strong temperature variation caused by poor insulation.
  • Two blower door tests were performed, one at the completion of preparatory cleanout, and one after the installation of the air barrier.
  • The targeted reduction of infiltration from the attic was 15% of the baseline air exchange rate.
  • This project was eligible for a utility sponsored rebate program. C&H was tasked with making sure the work plan complied with the utility’s requirements, and with organizing and submitting the required project data at completion.
  • C&H and our consultants provided extensive testing and analysis of multiple energy performance upgrades. We were then able to extrapolate estimated cost savings, which helped the client determine the most cost effective approach to meeting their performance goals.

Project Team

Energy Consultant

Insulation Contractor

C&H Architects, Amherst MA

Energia, Holyoke MA