Capacity Demands Drive Green Initiatives
As production of our Mobius single-use assemblies increased to meet demand, it became clear that cleanroom operations at our existing facility couldn’t handle the increased manufacturing volume. A team was chartered to explore the possibility of renovating an unused warehouse and manufacturing space on the EMD Millipore campus into a new 10,000 square foot cleanroom and support areas to meet production demand. The team proposed to construct the facility in accordance with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) principles developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This was first of many initiatives to make our single-use product line more environmentally sustainable.
The LEED certification program is an internationally recognized green building certification system. The program provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies that improve performance in areas including energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources, and sensitivity to their impacts. Projects receive points for activities in these categories and need to amass a sufficient number to achieve LEED certification.
Once our LEED certification initiative was launched, we faced an interesting challenge. The LEED certification process, although well defined to guide and certify the construction of office spaces and municipal buildings, offers limited guidance or precedence to certify a manufacturing cleanroom.
Our cleanroom project did not quite fit any of the specific building categories USGBC has developed. The closest category is LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors), designated for spaces within a building that are being updated or changed.
While this was essentially what was planned for the Mobius cleanroom area, the criteria as written didn’t quite align with our initiative. For example, one LEED-CI criteria is providing individual light and air controls, impossible to accomplish in a cleanroom. Another is reducing water from bathroom fixtures, difficult to achieve since there are no bathroom fixtures in the project area.
To navigate the extensive LEED certification process, we brought in a team of external consultants that specializes in design, processing, and commissioning of LEED-certified new construction and commercial interior building projects. The team’s role was to identify and implement sustainable items into the project, verify items to make sure they met or exceeded the LEED requirements, and gather and prepare final documentation to submit to USGBC for certification.