Greening EPA

Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory

Photo of EPA’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory in Duluth, Minnesota.

88,577 gross square feet (GSF)
Personnel: 145

Energy Intensity:
FY 2015: 345,658 Btu per GSF
11.7% reduction from FY 2003 baseline

Water Intensity:
FY 2015: 5.24 gallons per GSF
51.8% reduction from FY 2007 baseline

Duluth, Minnesota

The Office of Research and Development studies the ecological effects of water pollutants on fish, wildlife and ecosystems at this facility because it can use water from Lake Superior to conduct its research. The unchanging quality of the lake’s water is essential to the ecotoxicology research. 

Sustainable Features

  • MED uses more than 99 million gallons of Lake Superior water annually for research and cooling.
  • EPA replaced MED’s constant volume air handling units (AHUs) with a more energy-efficient variable air volume models and installed updated AHU technology.
  • The MED laboratory replaced restroom faucets, toilets and urinals with more efficient models, saving an estimated 360,000 gallons of water per year.
  • MED purchases delivered green power for approximately 24,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), or approximately 1 percent, of its annual electricity consumption.
  • Two acres of meadow grasses and other native plants surrounding MED provide a buffer between the site’s impervious surfaces and Lake Superior. As stormwater runs through the meadow, the native landscaping helps filter out pollutants and allow for ground absorption.

For more information, visit the Mid-Continent Ecology Division website or the EPA Facility Contact List.