Corporate Green

MathWorks: A Case Study in Sustainability

MathWorks AH4 - Tower Rendering_small-2by Jacob Higginbottom

Engineers and scientists worldwide rely on MathWorks products to accelerate the pace of discovery, innovation, and development. For MathWorks, technology has been the driving force to its continued achievement and innovation in developing mathematically based computing software. With this understanding and concept in mind, the project design team envisioned the company’s newest office building to be just as innovative as Mathworks is – especially in the areas of energy conservation, building operations technology, and sustainability. Fusing smart and sustainable elements, the team [Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Macnamera Salvia, VanZelm Engineers, Vico Software, and Cranshaw Construction] set out to build the new 4 story 180,000 square foot corporate facility which houses over 460 offices, multiple conference rooms, a 300 person cafeteria, a monumental stair atrium and corporate support facilities.

Unique to this core and shell design by SG&A are many sustainable highlights. Revolutionary construction coordination methods facilitated by SG&A’s use of BIM [building information modeling] during design and construction also sets this project apart. The building exceeds the MA Stretch code for energy consumption through the use of triple glazed windows, chilled beams, progressive envelope design, close construction monitoring, an integrated cogeneration facility to convert the byproduct of the heavy cooling demands of the new data center into on-site energy and a new 7000 square foot integrated campus data center. Cogeneration – combined heat and power – refers here to the simultaneous production of thermal and electrical energy from a single fuel source. The inherent thermal byproduct of electrical production is effectively utilized; therefore, energy costs are significantly reduced by the higher overall conversion efficiencies. The integrated campus data center allows the cogeneration system to run and produce heating and chilled water – which are in fact by-products of the system’s waste heat.

The building information model [BIM] was further developed during construction to coordinate the systems installations and for use in a revolutionary attempt to concurrently populate the model with real product data from the approved shop drawings, thus creating a true 3D as-built. This model ultimately serves as the building asset management tool, fully integrated with FM systems software and the building management and controls systems. This presents an exceptional opportunity to support post occupancy facilities management including preventative maintenance programs. All employees can regulate their own workspace climates through the building’s active chilled beam and cooling system implementation.

In this case study , SG&A has helped create a contract with all parties where the data flows from AE to CM to Subs and back into a final model representative of actual built data. The project also benefits from a unique client passionate about software and committed to streamlined FM systems support, vibrant state of the art corporate environments and environmental sustainability. This partnership between SG&A’s high tech understanding of the BIM modeling process and MathWorks’ passion for software provides a unique opportunity to broaden the scope of architectural services, create a functional and adaptable space, and enhance post occupancy facilities management.


Jacob Higginbottom A(IA LEED AP) is a Project Architect at Spagnolo Gisness & Associates.