Green Manufacturing at MediPharm Labs
Earth Day turns 50 this year. At MediPharm Labs, we don’t think about the earth once a year, but on an ongoing basis as we make important decisions about our products, suppliers, business practices, and facilities. This collective mentality is aligned with our core values of integrity, collaboration and innovation. We know that our customers care about where their products come from. So, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we decided to share how we try to be a green, environmentally-responsible organization every day of the year.
Keeping energy in
When a member of your household complains that your home is too draughty, they’re really talking about air leakage, or the uncontrolled escape of air to or from a building. When air leaks out, the replacement air coming in needs to be heated or cooled, depending on the season.
Leakage can also bring polluted outdoor air in, which needs to be remediated to ensure that, in a facility like MediPharm Labs’, manufacturing is conducted in a sanitary environment. For commercial buildings, energy lost to air leakage accounts for about six per cent of total energy use.1That's why sealing air leaks is critical to improving the energy efficiency of any building. As part of our green building strategy, MediPharm Labs has introduced air barriers to our facility at key entrance points. This keeps our energy costs down and prevents us from wasting energy.
Clean air matters for good health and the safety of people, processes and products. At MediPharm Labs, we spend a great deal of time thinking about air filtration systems and what initiatives we can implement in order to make them more efficient.
The job of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and various air filters (such as pleated filters, carbon filters, HVAC, etc.) is to remove contaminants from air that passes through the system to products and building occupants, while also protecting the longevity of the HVAC system. Air filters can also play a significant role in energy consumption. The energy used by HVAC systems relates to the resistance of the air passing through the filter. The lower the filter's resistance, the lower the energy consumption will be. That's because, with lower resistance to air flow, the HVAC system motor needs to do less work to deliver the required airflow, thereby reducing the motor's energy consumption2.
A recent change that we've made at our facility is to partner with a leading clean air solutions manufacturer whose filters are energy-efficient and long-lasting. MediPharm Labs also implements a preventative maintenance program whereby we check for the quality of various filters installed throughout the facility on a periodic basis and make replacements, as needed. Such practice allows us to ensure the quality of our product while also contributing to energy efficiency. By using fewer filters, we create less waste and consume fewer of the raw materials required to produce filters.
A building automation system (BAS) centralizes and automates the control of HVAC and lighting to reduce energy and maintenance costs. A BAS can shut off equipment and lighting during non-peak hours or make adjustments based on the time of day, occupancy and/or usage patterns. According to a 2017 study conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, installing and optimizing a BAS can cut energy consumption by as much as 29 per cent.3 A well-run BAS improves energy efficiency, lowers building workload and extends the lifespan of machines and equipment, ultimately reducing waste.
MediPharm Labs’ newly installed BAS lowers our energy consumption during off-hours and helps us deliver the ideal amount of heating, cooling or ventilation to each room at peak times. Coupled with our switch to more energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) lighting and motion sensors that turn lights off when areas are unoccupied, we are seeing significant reductions in our power usage.
These are just the first of many changes planned to upgrade our facility, re-examine how we do business and reduce our carbon footprint. In the near future, we plan to install solar panels on our facility. They will power portions of our internal and external lighting and they’ll be connected to three electric vehicle charging stations. The MediPharm Labs Facilities team also has plans to replace all faucet aerators to 1.0 GPM in an effort to cut water consumption in kitchen sinks and washrooms by half. Aligned with the Facilities team, the Procurement and Project Management groups are strategizing on implementing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) focused approaches to their sourcing, construction and purchasing processes. This will ensure that future projects and expansions further reduce our emissions. In addition to these measures, we have a plan for better waste diversion that will ensure we produce less garbage and participate in better composting and recycling practices.
Our team at MediPharm Labs brings significant experience in energy efficient building design and efficient workplace processes. They’re helping us find ways to be as sustainable as possible now and into the future.