Early design assistance, energy modeling lead to award-winning facility

Energy Center provides MSI General with early design and energy modeling expertise for wind turbine production plant

Ingeteam, a wind turbine manufacturer based in Spain, recently established its new 120,000 square foot production plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company has been praised by Wisconsin politicians and business leaders for bringing hundreds of new jobs to the city's Menomonee Valley and for reusing a former brownfield.

With the building's owner in the business of alternative energy, there was a significant focus during design and construction on making the building as energy efficient as possible. With this in mind, the Energy Center's buildings team was hired by MSI General, the design-build contractor, to ensure that the project would achieve its energy goals. The Energy Center went on to provide energy modeling, LEED consulting, daylighting analysis and assistance with Focus on Energy's financial incentives.

The Energy Center began with early building models, considering closely the energy impacts of basic components such as the precast panels making up the building structure, and the potential for daylighting in the facility. These considerations were underway before any drawings were even completed. The owner and architect agreed early on the importance of using daylight as much as possible to light the facility to both save energy and improve the indoor environment for the hundreds of employees producing equipment for Ingeteam.

The Energy Center assisted in this effort from an early stage by suggesting possible skylight layouts to light the manufacturing space and by recommending control strategies for office lighting. The Energy Center also completed energy and installation cost analysis allowing the owner to make informed decisions each step of the way.

Other energy improvements were also considered and ultimately were selected based on energy analysis. These included:

  • specific high performance glazing that took advantage of high insulation value and low solar gain and was "tuned" to allow for a high amount of visible light to enter the space;
  • an exterior solar shade for the office, sized to allow winter sun into the space during heating season and block the higher angle sun as the building transitions to cooling mode; and
  • direct-fired makeup air units in the manufacturing area that allow almost 100% efficiency in heating the space and energy-saving air recirculation when the space is unoccupied.

Completed in spring 2011, the end result was a production facility that not only produces renewable energy equipment, but also uses as little fossil fuel as possible.

Ingeteam is pending LEED Gold certification and has received several honors including the 2012 Milwaukee Business Journal Real Estate Project of the Year Award and Best New Development Award (in the industrial category), the 2012 Mayor's Design Award and the 2011 Wisconsin Ready Mix Concrete Design Award.

In July 2012, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu toured Ingeteam and announced Milwaukee's acceptance of President Barack Obama's Better Buildings Challenge. Visit the Urban Milwaukee website for photos of this visit and the new facility.

Ingeteam's new facility