Strategic Energy and Water Efficiency Investment Prevents 7,000 Tons of CO₂ in Record Year for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Apr 4, 2024 9:00 AM ET

2023 was the planet’s warmest year on record, with the average land and ocean surface temperature at 1.18 degrees Celsius—the hottest since recordkeeping began in 1880. As a leading science and technology company, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is committed to continuing its accelerated emissions reduction. The company’s Group-wide and Life Science Sustainability Strategy addresses this goal, outlining an ambition to achieve a 50% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2020. Scope 1 emissions, otherwise down as direct emissions, are emissions that occur on-site such as natural gas usage and use of refrigerants. Scope 2 emissions occur off-site and are mainly caused by electricity consumption not covered by renewable electricity.

One of the key levers to achieve this goal is EDISON, the company’s high-impact energy and water reduction program. Led by the EDISON team and over 100 site EDISON leads, the program delivered its most significant impact to date since its 2009 launch.

With the successful completion of more than 60 projects globally and an investment of just over €9 million, the Life Science business will avoid an impressive 35,000-megawatt hours (MWh) of energy, prevent over 7,000 tons of CO2 emissions and conserve more than 30,000 cubic meters of water.

Check out some of the 2023 EDISON highlights:

Solar Installation in Toluca, Mexico

A 550-kilowatt (kW) roof and carpark solar photovoltaic (PV) system was installed at a facility in Toluca, Mexico, resulting in 421,000 kWh of electricity and 168 tons of CO2 savings.

“It is a great pleasure to put the photovoltaic system in operation at our Toluca site,” said Raul Faudoa, Maintenance and Projects Manager. “This EDISON project improves our energy generation and consumption while maximizing our resources and avoiding unnecessary waste.”

Heat Pump Installation in Molsheim, France

Two heat pumps were installed at manufacturing buildings in Molsheim, France, to help reduce the site’s natural gas consumption. The €600,000 investment aligns with the company’s decarbonization strategy, saving 3,800,000 kWh of energy while switching to electric heat sources.

“Installing heat pumps on site enables CO2 emission reductions by switching off gas supply whenever temperatures are above three degrees Celsius, generating up to 80% savings on annual gas consumption for heating,” said Jean-Philippe Cann, Molsheim Site Engineer. “Also, if our gas supply may be impacted, it ensures the buildings’ heat is not at risk.”

Water Run-Off Collection in Visalia, California, USA

In Visalia, California, USA, a water collection piping, tank, and pump installation captures air handler condensate and repurposes it for landscape irrigation in this water-scarce area. The project contributed to a 133-point reduction in the organization’s water intensity score, or 1.6% off at the Life Science level, and conserves 900 cubic meters of water annually.

“Unlike a traditional cooling system, ours has no compressors and condensers. Instead, we integrated an adiabatic cooling system into the existing air turnover system for the whole building,” said Brian Duarte, West Region Distribution Manager. “Normally, the system dumps water after it gets old. We used the existing pumps in the coolers and added a series of pipes to gather the runoff and repurpose it for landscape irrigation.”

Keeping the Momentum in 2024

For 2024, EDISON put forth its largest investment yet, totaling €9.4 million to fund another 60 projects. This will cover 40 locations globally, of which ten are new participants in the program. Projections indicate that these projects will avoid an additional 4,500 tons of CO2 emissions, deliver more than 25,000 MWh of energy savings, and save 170,000 cubic meters of water—more than 5x the water savings delivered in 2023.

Learn more about the sustainability efforts of the Life Science Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, by visiting its sustainability and social business innovation webpage.