Saco Train Station

Location: Saco, ME
Owner:  The City of Saco, Maine

Saco Train Station

Located on a reclaimed brownfield site, the Saco Transportation Center houses the train station for Amtrack/Downeaster, a bus station and the Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information station. Modern technology and sustainable design methods keep the station warm during the winter, cool in the summer, sufficiently lit and comfortable for all visitors. The highly insulated building provides daylighting and boasts a passive solar design. The station is oriented along an east-west axis with generous south-facing windows, while six-foot overhangs help reduce solar heat in the summer. A wind turbine provides electricity and energy efficient lighting, including florescent and metal halide fixtures. The lobby is heated using radiant heat tubes, embedded within insulated concrete slabs. The automatic sliding doors at all main entry vestibules have winter and summer settings to help control airflow. The bathrooms have low-consumption plumbing fixtures and sinks with motion sensors. Drought-resistant vegetation adorns the landscape surrounding the station, reducing water usage.

The design of the Saco Transportation was awarded the Congress for the New Urbanism Award for the State of Maine, a program that honors regional projects and places that serve as markable contributions to building more equitable, sustainable, connected, healthy and prosperous communities throughout New England.

Saco Transportation Center Website

The list of COTE (AIA Committee on the Environment) items was created to help understand how a project meets the needs of users and how it impacts the environment.  The list focuses on best practices and high impact strategies for creating healthy places to live and work.  Here are some ways this project measures up to the COTE list:


Located on a historic train station site.  The site provides wind power and a geothermal capacity.


The station is walkable to many newly renovated mill buildings nearby.  The scale of materials used is consistent with local building fabric and historic train station forms.  The fully accessible facility has a large, in-floor heated waiting area.  Bike racks support the commuter train system users.  The waiting area is designed as a community space where people can watch trains and gather to meet.  On occasion, the space hosts weddings.


The site is a reused brownfield site.  The grothermal system utilizes ground water.  A storm water management system was designed to mitigate site pollution and limit impact down stream.  Recycled content was used in roofing and structural systems.  Daylight is maximized through high performance skylights and window systems.


Low flow plumbing devices are implemented throughout the site.


The train station provides a regional travel connection, taking cars off the road and saving fuel while limiting carbon emissions.  The energy efficient design is supported with natural light, limiting the need for artificial lighting most days.  As systems improve and old systems are replaced, the City of Saco comes closer to declaring the Saco Train Station Net Zero Energy using geothermal and wind power.


– Geothermal

– Wind power

– High performance shell

– Solar panel ready

– Large glazed walls provide daylighting


Natural materials are used throughout.  The station is walkable to mills and downtown residential neighborhoods.


Low VOC finishes were used throughout.  The wood frame and glue laminate structure allows low embodied carbon.


The creation of a new urban transportaion center in a dense urban neighborhood is of great value to the neighborhood.  The waiting room is not a community gathering space.


Structural Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc.
Lighting Bartlett Design
Civil/Landscape Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc.
Plumbing, Heating and Cooling WH Demmons, Inc.                                            


Year Completed 2008
Cost $2.3 million
Size 6,900 square feet