The Big G is for Green: Changing everything but the Chemistry

Mamie Harvey, Alliiance
Kelly Schwenn, Medallion, General Mills Inc.

Mamie Harvey, AIA, LEED AP BD+C and Kelly Schwenn, customer service and integration manager for Medallion Labs, General Mills Inc. will share their process and lessons learned during the planning and design of Wing 5 at the General Mills James Ford Bell Technical Center in Golden Valley, Minn. The Analytical Lab is predicted to run 70 percent more efficiently than a typical lab building, but the project's primary sustainability achievement was established before schematic design started when detailed programming and work flow analysis allowed a 20 percent decrease in overall lab area.

The design process included a series of intense workshops with General Mills scientists and researchers in order to maximize efficiency and safety. Within the 40,000-square-foot two-story building, analytical and microbiology teams conduct more than 12,000 quality and compliance-related tests each month. Each series of assays were process mapped in detail. The office space supporting the labs incorporates General Mills' well established mobile work environment system FUSE (Flexible User Shared Environment). Ms. Schwenn will share how the team worked through the design, the safe move of the laboratories, vertical startup supporting our ongoing business, lab IS system support, and lessons learned since Wing 5 opened in July 2014.

Daylight and views were an important part of the design and planning. Daylight is available to 85 percent of the occupied lab, office, and circulation space to support employee productivity and retention, and views to the south lawn are available from 70 percent of the occupied lab, office, and circulation space.

Beyond space efficiency and daylight, the project team analyzed the building orientation in early schematic design using a conceptual energy modeling tool. Further energy analysis was supported by the Xcel Energy funded Energy Design Assistance (EDA), and Enhanced Energy Design Assistance (Enhanced EDA) programs. The Enhanced EDA program informed schematic and early design development decisions by comparing alternate window size and placement for daylight harvesting and sun shading options, as well as an HVAC Analysis, where HVAC systems are compared to maximize energy efficiency. The subsequent EDA process employed a DOE-2 Energy Model for a comparative analysis of specific energy saving strategies including incremental costs and payback analysis.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn a method of mapping workflow and processes that can reduce the overall lab area required and maximize efficiency.
  • Develop design workshops that achieve complete scientists and researcher engagement.
  • Identify potential hazards due to process and workflow in analytical and microbiology labs and methods to ensure safety.
  • Determine energy efficiency strategies to meet the 2030 challenge with standard systems and limited floor to floor height.


Mamie Harvey is a principal at Alliiance, a Minneapolis architectural firm, who leads their science and technology studio. Ms. Harvey's focus on energy efficiency is evidenced by her design of high hazard and stringent laboratories that have significant environmental impacts. Ms. Harvey's recent presentations include Nano-Scaled Interdisciplinary Research: No Small Task at the 2013 I2SL conference and "Looking in the Rearview Mirror: The 2030 Challenge at the 2014 SCUP Pacific Regional Conference.

Kelly Schwenn is the operations manager for Medallion Labs, a third party food testing laboratory owned by General Mills, Inc. She led the business team through design of the lab and supporting systems as well as the move and startup of the lab. She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering and an MBA from the University of Minnesota and has most recently presented at Salesforce's 2013 Dreamforce conference on Medallion Labs' implementation of their cloud based technology.


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