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By Paul Thomas, Senior Editor
The key green metric by which Wyeth gauges itself is CO2 output, and Edsall says Pearl River’s emissions have dropped 14% in two years. (The company’s goal is to reduce overall emissions by 10% by 2012, though the bar may be raised following the Pfizer-Wyeth merger. “From an energy management perspective, I’m looking forward to the merger,” Edsall says. “Pfizer’s always been a bit more aggressive than we have.”)
Edsall has money in his annual budget for metering, and has overseen efforts to upgrade metering at all electrical substations, and for most steam operations. (“Steam is a tough animal to maintain,” he says. It’s a 24/7 operation that’s hard to shut down.) Meanwhile, most production buildings have metered equipment. “I know what my air compressors or chillers are doing,” he says.
Air compressors and chillers have long been considered the low-hanging fruit for reducing pharmaceutical energy usage. So has lighting. Pearl River worked with Orion Energy Systems to replace all the low-pressure sodium lights in one warehouse with energy-efficient, sensored lighting—ROI on the project was just a year, Edsall says.
But in Pearl River, as at most facilities, there is no such fruit in GMP areas. “I don’t know what my blenders and fillers are doing,” Edsall continues.
The idea of adding new equipment, or perhaps retrofitting old, inefficient lines and equipment, stirs fears of revalidation (and associated costs). “Some people think that there’s nothing you can do [without revalidating],” says EPA’s Tunnessen, “and that they can only tweak things around the periphery,” Tunnessen says.
That’s true, but manufacturers with proactive energy programs learn to take advantage of opportunities for upgrades. “A lot of it is timing,” Tunnessen adds, “of making efficiency upgrades when the opportunity presents itself,” such as when a line is being reconfigured or a new piece of equipment is being purchased.
That’s been the case at Wyeth Pearl River, says Edsall. Energy efficiency upgrades are usually “back-burnered” in GMP areas, until there’s an opportunity for change. “If you’re going to make changes for any reason, that’s the time to incorporate [energy upgrades],” he says.
Public and Private
Wyeth has also benefited from support from the public sector. It worked with a consultant from NYSERDA (the New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority) to install variable-primary loops in its chilled water systems, for example.
The EPA has been the biggest champion of energy change, namely in the creation of an Energy Star program for drug facilities to aspire to. Another significant development has been the establishment of a pharma-specific Energy Performance Indicator (EPI), now available on the EPA web site. The EPI is an Excel-based tool that relies on specific data about factors such as plant size, hours of operation, annualized energy purchases, heating and cooling degree days.
While the EPI is being used as a measuring stick for facilities seeking Energy Star recognition, it’s also a means for manufacturers to get a sense of where they stand in comparison to peers, and to discover what they can improve upon. The EPI allows manufacturers to compare cross-facility comparisons, intra-facility comparisons among different spaces, and to perform modeling and manipulations.
And while the EPI was developed with U.S. facilities in mind, manufacturers are using it to benchmark their global operations, says Duke University statistician Gale Boyd, who spearheaded the development of the Pharma EPI.
There are public-private initiatives taking place across the globe, on multiple levels, to encourage sustainability, from regional energy councils to organizations that promote “triple bottom line”—people, planet, profit—business practices. A new project worthy of mention is Labs21, or “Laboratories for the 21st Century,” an informational and educational program co-sponsored by EPA and DOE to improve the environmental performance of laboratories, particularly where energy and water usage are concerned. (More info is at www.labs21century.gov.)
Another collaborative effort has been the development of an impending ISO 50001 standard, now in draft form, that will establish a framework for industrial facilities (as well as commercial) to manage energy. Having an ISO standard in place will go a long way towards encouraging pharmaceutical manufacturers to step up.
Energy consciousness has also become marketable, and so most major vendors working with drug manufacturers are promoting their value as green partners. (In Newsweek’s green rankings, two key pharma vendors, Agilent Technologies and Pall Corp., led all companies in the Industrial Goods sector.)
There’s more of a market for sustainable practices these days, says Marcia Walker, program manager for Rockwell Automation’s Sustainable Production Solutions. Manufacturers are moving from projects that focus on the low-hanging fruit to those that take a more comprehensive approach. “The next step for any real savings is going to have to be on the industrial side,” says Walker.
In the past, she says, industrial energy consumption was typically viewed in terms of a given allocation per square feet of plant space. That won’t fly any more, as pharmaceutical companies are under much greater regulatory pressures. In the U.S., that means not only FDA pressure regarding product and process risk, but also pressure from the Department of Energy, EPA, and other federal agencies.
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