Sartorius PR plant first to get LEED's top rating

Sartorius Stedim Biotech achieved a LEED Platinum rating for its Puerto Rico plant--courtesy of Sartorius Stedim Biotech

When Sartorius Stedim Biotech needed to add capacity to its single-use bag and filter plant in Puerto Rico, it decided to go green with the expansion. The plant was designed to use less energy for heating and cooling, generate some of its own solar electricity and seriously recycle water.

The plant, which opened in September, is now being recognized for all of those efforts. The company says it is the first in the biopharmaceutical industry to have a plant achieve the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating--LEED Platinum--from the now well-recognized green building certification program.

The $20 million expansion added 55,000 square feet to the facility in Yauco, Puerto Rico, adding space for two new clean rooms for filter and bag manufacturing, labs and offices. About 240 people work at the plant. It was designed to use special building materials so it would require less energy. A photovoltaic system on the plant roof provides 10% of its electrical requirements. The plant also uses 85% less water than conventional plants. It captures rainwater and air-handling unit condensate for cooling clean rooms, then uses it as gray water for facilities and for irrigation.

Other companies have also gone green when building new facilities. Shire ($SHPG) last year opened a $200 million, LEED energy efficient plant in Lexington, MA. Pfizer ($PFE) has cut its greenhouse gas emissions 20%, achieving $85 million in annualized savings through improvements at a number of facilities. But efforts don't always work out the way they are planned. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has been working on a global program to cut its carbon footprint by 2050. But locals in the seaside town of Montrose, Scotland, have been pushing back at its effort to erect two wind turbines to provide some of the electricity for a $12.6 million project there; they consider them unsightly.

- here's the release