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Sustainability study: eliminating Scope 1 emissions for multiple biopharma operating sites

How CRB developed a step-by-step guide for project managers and existing operations. 

CRB’s client, a global biopharma leader, is actively pushing the industry toward stronger climate action. The company sees environmental sustainability as a responsible and ethical step toward taking care of its patients and, as such, has declared that protecting the planet is a core business imperative. Among its ambitious goals, the company has publicly committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For a global manufacturer of multiple biopharma products, this is a large operational undertaking.  

The client engaged CRB for a sustainability study to determine engineering solutions for eliminating Scope 1 emissions from its biopharma manufacturing facilities and operations. Our team launched a comprehensive study and developed a set of custom guidance tools that allow end usersfrom GMs and project managers to site operatorsto easily translate corporate sustainability goals into site-level action. The materials provide site managers with the resources to make well-informed, equipment selections and operating decisions based on their site’s needs. As these sites collectively move toward cleaner operational practices, the ambitious corporate vision becomes a reality. 

Sustainability challenges of biopharma

Pharmaceutical, biotech, and laboratory environments present unique operating conditions and sustainability challenges from other industries due to the heavy utility needs to support clean processes with increased HVAC loads, the vast amounts of low-bioburden water used for drug products, and temperature-controlled storage spaces for sensitive materials. To start, we collected utility bills and equipment lists from eight existing manufacturing sites with modality and regional differences. This information was used to create energy use intensity (EUI) benchmarking data for comparison across the company and industry standards. Sites with the highest EUI could offer the best opportunities for energy efficiency gains and progress toward Scope 1 GHG emissions goals.  

The EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, classified as an Energy Performance Indicator (EPI), started a category in 2005 focusing on the pharmaceutical industry. Per data the EPI has collected, the median pharmaceutical facility consumes 4,386 kWh/m2 (1,391 kBtu/sq.ft). Within that, electricity is typically 56% of energy use and 70% of energy cost, with the balance attributed to natural gas & fuels. 

Regardless of the industry, conservation measures always present the best first step toward reducing GHG emissions. From there, energy recovery and generation efficiency share a role within a smart sustainability strategy. 

The most sustainable kilowatt-hour is the kilowatt-hour never consumed. 

Our sustainability specialists leveraged this study’s data and methodology to develop a comprehensive toolset for eliminating Scope 1 emissions and enabling the development of site-specific sustainability roadmaps. We provided the client with several guidance tools to help the site-level end user determine the best alternative equipment technology for their specific needs.  

Scope 1 emissions report roadmap Scope 1 sustainability report roadmap

The guidance tools for Scope 1 reduction included:

  • Scope 1 technologies chart – a simplified, high-level list of three Scope 1 categories with their best available technologies 
  • Decision tree – an easy to follow, site agnostic flowchart to select the best available technologies based on potential site features 
  • Choosing by advantage – a weighted matrix tool to allow site operators to select specific equipment and technologies 
  • Engineering solutions assessment – a technical narrative to support an understanding of alternative technologies 
  • Central plant configurations – examples of non-traditional chilled and heated hot water system approaches to avoid steam and maximize efficiency 
  • Equipment matrix – a list of available manufacturers and models of alternative technologies for consideration related to chilled and hot water, steam and food service applications 
  • Cost Estimate – an interactive tool to provide an approximation of the capital impacts of implementing an alternative technology
Scope 1 emissions decision tree for biotech and pharma example operating guide for eliminating Scope 1 emissions in manufacturing facilities- tree diagram

Using a Scope 1 emissions-focused decision tree, like in the example above, allows project teams to easily come to mechanical solutions to fit their site's needs.

hot water heater green alternatives for commercial operations - infographic hot water heater best sustainable alternatives for commercial operations - infographic

As shown above, the technology chart provides a quick visual ranking options from the most to least preferred to meet sustainability goals.

Biopharma is embracing sustainability goals, and the industry’s foremost leaders are taking action now. Moving toward zero carbon and highly efficient manufacturing operations doesn’t happen overnight. These goals take investment, effort, and a well-planned sustainability roadmap. If your organization is looking toward 2030, 2035 or even 2040 carbon goals, benchmarking and an assessment of current operations is a necessary place start. Only after you understand your current carbon footprint can you charter a path to reducing or eliminating it. 

If you’re ready to map your corporate-level sustainability goals to site-level action, we can help you. Let’s build your sustainable roadmap. 

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