Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News’' first “GreenBioPharma” conference represented an important step in the trend toward making operations at life science companies and organizations more sustainable. That was the opinion of most of the presenters and attendees who gathered at the meeting, which took place in July in Philadelphia.
Experts from academia and industry, including architects, engineers, researchers, process specialists, facility managers, and design and operations management consultants, discussed and brainstormed over innovative strategies for building in green processes and practices.
Topics ranged from environmentally sensitive building design, air-quality monitoring systems, building automation, energy efficiency, water-reduction strategies, biocatalysis to optimize process dynamics, and waste reduction and recycling.
Many of the presentations emphasized the operational efficiencies and sustainable advantages of switching to disposable technologies across the process stream, including savings in labor, energy, water, chemical use, and overall costs.
The speakers stressed the importance of robust metrics, pre- and post-implementation, to document these savings, both as proof-of-principle and to demonstrate the potential cost and efficiency advantages of sustainable initiatives to corporate management, staff, vendors, and customers.
Recurring themes throughout the two days of talks, roundtable discussions, and networking included the following: looking beyond the low-hanging fruit for ways to save energy and water can yield big payoffs; incentives and education should increase buy-in across an organization; and justifying and reaping the benefits of going green depends on quantifiable results.