R&D ‘Cleanrooms’ Get a Sustainable Once-over

by | Jul 7, 2009

cleanroomCleanrooms, the ubiquitious white, sterile rooms at medical and research facilities, are notorious for the amount of energy used to keep them cool and clean.

The rooms, which also rely on high-standard air filtration systems and require ample lighting, are the next candidates for R&D firms and hospitals who are looking to add sustainability to their operations, reports Life Science Leader.

Wayne McGee, president of PortaFab Corp., said he has seen an uptick in demand for energy efficiency at cleanrooms from the pharma and biotechnology sectors.

Companies are looking at the following components of their operations:

  • construction materials used to build the cleanroom
  • energy used by lights, fans, heaters, air conditioners, and other electrical equipment
  • energy usage and waste generated by disposable or laundered clothing
  • ways to produce less contaminated wastewater.

Some companies are turning to modular cleanrooms as a way to minimize costs and gain efficiencies of scale, as opposed to custom-built units.

Cleanrooms are being built with walls and ceilings that have improved thermal values to help keep heat in or out, reducing heating or cooling costs.

Some modular cleanrooms aim to reduce the possibility of dirt and particles becoming trapped in joints and corners, making the rooms easier to clean, and requiring fewer cleaning solvents.

With regard to clothing that clean room researchers have to wear,some companies are moving away form single-use and disposable garments. To reduce the number of gloves required daily, they are having employees use glove liners.

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