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Apr 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 7)

Ongoing Pursuit of Sustainable Operations

Industry Has Embraced All Things Green and Is Operating Ahead of Government Mandates

  • A Green Pedigree

    Pharm/biotech companies are discovering that green strategies that work well for existing facilities can be even more successful for new buildings and campuses.

    Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMS) new large-scale multiproduct bulk biologics plant in Devens, MA, is illustrative. The five-year, $750 million project (the largest in BMS history), was designed with U.S. Green Buildings LEED certification in mind. Since the Devens site is a former military installation, its sustainability mandate was more or less built-in, which fit easily into BMS’ sustainability program. Upon commissioning in 2010, the plant will fulfill production requirements for Orencia, the company’s rheumatoid arthritis treatment through six 20,000 L bioreactors.

    The principal environmental challenge for this project, says Dan Noberini, associate director of environmental health and safety at the facility, was to familiarize the architectural and engineering companies with LEED certification. The firms BMS hired had some familiarity with LEED, but not for a project of this size. “The education campaign for our contractors and subcontractors was one of our biggest challenges,” Noberini says.
    BMS put significant emphasis on efficiency in utilization of water, the highest-volume by-product in biologics manufacturing. To eliminate irrigation and reduce upkeep, Devens is landscaped with drought-resistant native plants that thrive in the local climate. The facility also employs efficient plumbing fixtures and recycles clean wastewater to toilets. During its start-up phase alone BMS Devens recycled 1.8 million gallons of water.

    Access to sunlight was optimized through an open-office design that incorporates no hard-walled offices. Every employee in offices and laboratories enjoys access to some natural light. BMS Devens does not use solar technology, but the facility’s orientation exploits southern exposure to provide free light and heating. Indoors, the facility employs highly energy-efficient lighting, which is both employee-controllable and regulated by sensors.

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