The (Green) Brown Boathouse

Learn about the sustainable features of the William H. Brown Boathouse

by Neil C Evans

April 7, 2017

—The docks are in the water and racing starts this weekend for Andover Crew. If you find yourself rowing or cheering at William H. Brown Boathouse this season, take a moment to notice its sustainable features.

The boathouse sits on 5.8 acres on the bank of the Merrimack River in Methuen. Before the Academy purchased it in 2010, it was a truck dealership and repair facility. The existing structure, a prefabricated metal building from the 1970s, was renovated with new siding and oversized glass windows to maximize natural light.

Boathouse

The Brown Boathouse in Methuen. ©Warren Patterson | Image courtesy of ARC

Much work was done to restore the site’s natural habitat and reestablish or replicate wetlands. A portion of the pavement was removed to create open space between the building and the riverbank. It was seeded with no-mow seed mix to increase biodiversity and create a habitat for the endangered Cobra Clubtail dragonfly, which lives along the Merrimack River. The site also boasts all indigenous plantings.

Bio-infiltration swales and a series of retention ponds allow for the natural management of stormwater. These landscape design techniques direct stormwater to percolate into the ground, preventing sediment and other pollutants from entering the river. Permeable asphalt paths from the building to the docks further protect the river.

—Allison Guerette
Campus Sustainability Coordinator