Generose Building addition showcases new approach to energy efficiency

July 2, 2018

The three-story addition underway on Mayo Clinic’s Generose Building is a showcase — and an experiment — for a new way to reduce energy consumption.

For the first time at Mayo Clinic, energy-efficiency targets were detailed in contracts for the project design and construction. The new approach is called performance-based procurement, and project leaders believe Mayo Clinic is the first health care institution in the U.S. to try it.

Karen Finneman Killinger, Facilities Project Services, says that often energy efficiency isn’t given serious consideration until after building design work is done. At that point, engineers and sustainability experts are brought in to offer expertise.

“By having the goals and shared accountability laid out at the beginning, we’ll be able to work together to reduce the building’s energy consumption in ways that might otherwise have been overlooked,” says Finneman Killinger, who is leading the Generose project team. In addition, contracts specify that the designers and builders develop ways to measure energy consumption in the 150,000-square-foot-addition.

The Generose Building, part of Mary Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus, offers a controlled experiment of sorts. Built in 1993, Generose has three above-ground levels. Energy consumption for the building is 153 Energy Use Intensity (EUI), a standard measurement of energy use per square foot per year. The Generose team benchmarked energy use of other buildings on the Rochester campus and other health care buildings in similar climates. The energy use benchmark for a new building similar to Generose is 130 EUI.

Bottled Water
South view of the new Generose Building.

“We set the goal for the three-story expansion at 122 EUI,” says Finneman Killinger, “lower than new construction and about 20 percent lower than the existing Generose Building.”

A 20 percent reduction is significant, says Brett Gorden, Facilities Operations, who is responsible for energy management on the Rochester campus. Consider, in 2011 Mayo Clinic set a goal to reduce energy consumption on the Rochester campus by 20 percent by 2020. That goal was reached two years ahead of schedule. The result was $26 million in cumulative energy savings and up to $7.8 million annually.

The new goal for the Rochester campus is a 30 percent energy consumption reduction by 2025. “As our facilities become more efficient, it will be more and more of a challenge to find ways to improve,” says Gorden. “This type of creative project underway at Generose will help get us there.”

Construction on the Generose addition started in November 2017 and is on schedule for completion in fall 2019. Energy use models were one — but not the only — consideration in determining the design and construction materials. The existing Generose Building has a brick exterior. However, the existing foundation couldn’t support the weight of a three-story brick addition.

The team looked at various combinations of windows and metal that would be attractive, within weight restrictions and meet energy-efficiency goals. The result is a grey glass wall on the building’s north side to take advantage of natural daylight and a combination of windows and grey textured aluminum panels on the rest of the building. The combination of windows and panels minimizes the heating effect of the sun during warmer months.

The expansion also takes advantage of the most efficient LED lighting and heating and cooling control systems available. The energy efficiency enhancements will be invisible to the patients and staff who work in the building.

Final results of the experiment will be measured a year after the new space is occupied. “We hope to prove that we met energy goals without adding costs to the overall project,” says Finneman Killinger. “If that’s the case, we hope to be using performance-based procurement for many more building construction projects.