IMEG provided engineering services for the infrastructure improvements at the Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory in Duluth, Minn. The facility includes biology and chemistry labs, culture unit, controlled environment rooms, vivarium, and a radio-isotope lab. The vivarium and culture unit space consists of numerous labs dedicated to various types of fish and other aquatic animals found in Lake Superior.
Designs included a new, 10,000 MBH heating water plant; a new, 250-ton chilled water plant including water side economizer, and complete replacement of airside systems in 40,000-sf of lab space. Engineers also designed a new electrical service entrance and 1600 Amp switchgear in a main-tie-main configuration, a new 600 kW generator, and new branch electrical distribution to 40,000-sf of lab space.
Since the building remained open during construction, multiple phasing options were developed early in design so the Owner could select a path that worked with their budget and work processes. System work in mechanical spaces was done during off-peak seasons to allow research to continue with minimal shutdowns. Lab renovations were done during an extended shutdown after researchers completed experiments, allowing them to write their reports and analysis during construction.
The design team followed Guiding Principles for High Performance & Sustainable Federal Buildings, and the building is modeled to use 45% less energy compared to current consumption.