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Exploring Energy Efficiency & Sustainability in the Pharmaceutical Outsourcing Industry

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Engaging with EECO2, Quotient Sciences explores energy efficiency across its global network of locations and within the wider pharmaceutical outsourcing industry.

For many people, the current energy crisis has presented a significant challenge, with UK households seeing a 54% monthly increase in energy costs in April 2022 alone. In business, the lack of an energy price cap has hit many industries hard, with process manufacturing being one of the most severely impacted. For the pharmaceutical outsourcing industry, the reliance on high-intensity and complex systems, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), means that many organizations are beginning to explore means of offsetting this rise in operational costs, primarily through energy efficiency. Of course, the benefits of reducing energy consumption are not solely limited to cost savings, as these measures also reduce the amount of damaging environmental emissions produced by an organization.

Wanting to capitalize on the chance to both improve environmental sustainability as well as lessen operational expenditure, Quotient Sciences engaged with EECO2 on a series of site-based energy assessments. Quotient Sciences has an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) group, which looks to monitor the organization’s impact on the planet, promote improvements, and reduce the consumption of energy and materials. As part of the ESG group's activities, Quotient Sciences engaged with EECO2 on energy assessments for two of its largest sites.

EECO2 help clients drive net-zero action within the life sciences industry to create a sustainable and healthy future. In doing this, EECO2 are trusted by many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical organizations to deliver cost and carbon reduction around the world. From site-level assessments to company-wide net-zero strategies, EECO2’s mission is to decarbonize the pharmaceutical industry, whilst maintaining and improving GMP compliance.

Quotient Sciences’ partnership with EECO2

Prior to this project, Quotient Sciences was aware of some potential opportunities for increasing on-site energy performance, such as introducing HVAC setbacks, but was keen to learn more about additional energy optimization and carbon reduction projects at its manufacturing facilities. Quotient Sciences asked EECO2 to assess two of its sites for energy optimization and carbon reduction projects, the learnings from which could then be shared across all Quotient Sciences sites.

EECO2’s successful track record in assisting many other pharmaceutical organizations to reduce their energy intensity and uncover new ways of decarbonizing operations was highly appealing, as identifying viable energy reduction projects that do not compromise compliance is an ever-present challenge in the life sciences sector.

To maintain compliant operations in pharmaceutical manufacturing, critical factors such as contamination control, temperature, and humidity need to be closely managed. Projects for energy optimization need to carefully consider the impact on operations, with a focus on the way proposed measures will impact processes, people, and products. Apprehension around energy improvement is common in the industry, but with EECO2’s deep technical knowledge, experience, and proven track record in the industry, they are well placed to provide appropriate solutions to meet the challenges in a safe and compliant manner.

The partnership between Quotient Sciences and EECO2 followed a collaborative approach in which EECO2 engineers surveyed Quotient Sciences’ Alnwick and Nottingham, UK, sites and met with the local site teams to share knowledge around engineering best practices.

In keeping with this collaborative approach, the team identified projects that were discussed with stakeholders, with clearly defined costs for project implementation. As a result of this joint effort between the two teams, new opportunities in HVAC optimization, sustainable lab practices, and innovative approaches in cleanroom control, such as demand-based airflow (ICCS®), have been explored.

The outcome of EECO2's study

EECO2 were able to identify and quantify several opportunities for improving energy performance. From a sustainability perspective, these projects represent a sizeable improvement in carbon performance, reducing annual carbon emissions by 25% at Alnwick and Nottingham, avoiding 460 tons of CO2 every year, equivalent to the emissions from 170 cars or 270 domestic homes.

In addition to this, the financial return of actioning these projects will be realized in approximately five years (on average), and with the continual rise in energy costs, this payback period is likely to shorten in due time. 

The predicted cost reduction has also been calculated by the EECO2 team, with the proposed measures set to cut energy costs by 33%. The report details EECO2’s final recommendations for implementing significant cost and carbon reduction at each site, with a roadmap showing when financial benefits will be first realized.

Keith Beattie, Director at EECO2, reflected on the recent partnership between the two organizations: "It is a privilege to partner with Quotient Sciences and assist in realizing the next stages of their sustainability journey. There is clear ambition and now a clear roadmap to make significant progress on site-based energy and carbon emission reductions. The recommended actions are good for business and the environment, and provide a competitive advantage as customers increasingly demand more sustainable products and services."

Michael Astle, Executive Director of Legal Affairs and Head of ESG at Quotient Sciences, added: "We are thankful for the support from EECO2 to improve the energy and sustainability performance of our sites. With the support of our owner Permira, this is just one of the initiatives Quotient Sciences is working on to reduce our impact on the environment. We have also introduced an electric vehicle leasing scheme for colleagues in the UK, with electric charging points at some sites, as well as providing guidance to colleagues on sustainable business travel. The roadmap provided by EECO2 has opened our eyes to the potential savings of carbon and cost, and we are now undertaking a more detailed feasibility assessment to enable us to implement as many of the changes as possible."