Hunting for Energy Savings

Apr 22, 2017 11:00 AM ET

Hunting for energy savings

You never know what you might find when you hunt for waste.

In 2010, we committed to reducing our environmental impact by 2020 in the following ways: 

  • Minimizing our overall carbon footprint by 25%
  • Reducing our water impact across the value chain by 20%
  • Cutting our operational waste by 50%

One initiative that helps us deliver on this ambitious goal is our R&D Places Program. This is a multi-year program to establish two global R&D hubs (in Stevenage, UK and Upper Providence, PA). As we unite 70% of our R&D colleagues in improved workplaces, we reduce our operating costs and carbon footprint. 

Carbon reductions

Our cutting-edge global R&D hubs in Stevenage and Pennsylvania have energy efficient LED lighting, low-flow fume hoods and state-of-the-art biosafety cabinets. We have also sold or closed other buildings, eliminating about 35,000 metric tons of CO2. Overall, through the R&D Places Program, we are saving 50,633,000 kW-hrs and $3.9 million per year (since 2015). That’s enough energy to power 4,683 homes per year.

Waste reductions

As we upgrade to energy-efficient solutions, we donate our used scientific equipment to local high schools, colleges, and universities. We also recycle construction waste and repurpose furniture.

Since 2015, we have:

  • Donated 69,000 pieces of lab equipment, consumables and glassware, valued at nearly $300K
  • Recycled 4,676 tons of construction waste
  • Redeployed $4.76 million worth of lab equipment

US perspective

Nick is our lead for energy and sustainability in the US and UK. He and his team frequently go on “energy hunts” throughout our buildings to uncover wasted energy and water. With clever fixes and reconfiguring, they make our existing systems more efficient and help us realize significant savings and value.

One example of water reduction involves the cooling system at our R&D site in Upper Providence. On hot humid days, the air conditioning equipment cools the air and produces significant quantities of water as it condenses. Nick and his team have installed a water reclaim system which routes this water through pipes so that we can use it in our cooling towers. This creativity has resulted in an average annual reduction of 10 million gallons of water. This is equivalent to more than 15 Olympic sized pools.

“Our R&D Places Program and energy hunts have improved the efficiency and reliability of our sites and led to substantial reductions in carbon emissions, water consumption and utility costs. For me, it’s humbling and meaningful to help GSK be a good steward of our precious natural resources.” (Nick, Global Lead Energy & Sustainability)

More information

This article is part of a series on our responsible business in the US

We aim to reduce environmental impacts across our value chain while extending access to our products for the people who need them – by minimizing our carbon footprint, reducing local water impacts and cutting operational waste. Learn more about our global commitments and progress for Our Planet