17 Dec 2021

Four Pitfalls to Avoid when Reducing Pharmaceutical Energy Spending 

Reducing pharmaceutical energy spending

If you’re a pharmaceutical company looking for ways to save money, your energy bill will probably be top of the list. Keeping buildings well-lit, climate-controlled, and running at the right temperature cost the US pharmaceuticals industry over $1 billion in 2018 alone.

And, as costs continue to climb, pharmaceutical companies are sacrificing more and more of their profits to their energy bills every year. That means less money to invest in vital research and development and, in turn, less chance of generating future growth.

But, for a sector as complex as pharmaceuticals, reducing energy spending isn’t just about finding efficiencies or seeking out a cheaper supplier. If you want to get a real competitive advantage from revamping your energy plan, you’ll need to consider four important things. 

How much does it cost to reduce your energy bill?

Saving money on your energy bills is a lot like building a house: investing in good foundations now will save you a lot of stress and spending in the future.

Moving to a cheaper energy provider might save you money in the short term, but you’ll need to make three important investments if you want your savings to be sustainable:

  • Purchase new, more efficient and reliable temperature and humidity control systems, so you’re wasting less energy adjusting your climate (and less money on product wastage caused by malfunctions).
  • Make sure you have a regular, robust schedule for maintaining existing equipment, so you can keep it running as efficiently as possible. This will also save you money and time you might have spent on avoidable repairs.
  • Invest in some reliable short-term HVAC equipment to keep things running smoothly while you upgrade to your new systems, so you can make improvements without affecting your productivity.

Buying the latest equipment and maintaining existing equipment can quickly become expensive if pharmaceutical companies shoulder all of the costs themselves.

Because of this, many companies are choosing to invest in temporary HVAC equipment that’s maintained by an experienced partner, instead of buying fixed assets outright.

Can your energy infrastructure adapt to suit your needs? 

The very nature of the pharmaceuticals industry means that your energy needs are always changing.

Your product portfolio is always evolving, which means the climate control inside your labs and manufacturing plants is also likely to change often. Not to mention the usual seasonal changes in heating and cooling that keep the people working in your offices happy, productive and comfortable.

When you’re looking to reduce your energy consumption, make sure you look for partners and equipment that can scale up and down to meet your needs. That way, you’ll never waste budget on energy you don’t use, or be caught off-guard by a spike in demand that your facility can’t meet.

How can you balance saving money with maintaining your standards?

Reducing costs is useless if you’re compromising the quality of your product.

Some processes are inefficient, but others are costly and time-consuming for a reason.

To figure out which is which, you need to understand both pharmaceutical procedures and energy best practices. Even better, work with a trusted energy provider who understands the industry, so you can combine your in-house expertise with their energy know-how. Then you can work together to find the best opportunities for savings.

For example, switching to an HVAC system that’s cheaper to run might reduce some costs, but compromise the quality of your process. It's far more costly to have quality control issues and decreased product run-rates due to HVAC limitations or reliability.

But a partner who has worked closely with pharmaceutical companies might be able to help you find a middle ground, like a temporary HVAC system that can be brought on- and off-site as needed, reducing CAPEX without compromising your plant’s integrity.

How can you reduce energy costs while staying compliant?

Many pharmaceutical companies find themselves tolerating less energy-efficient equipment because they’re concerned about the regulatory risks of switching to new equipment. The possibility of production downtime, issues with installations and compromised products can make the whole prospect extremely daunting.

But it doesn’t have to be. Complying with regulations is something the right equipment provider can help you with. If they’re experienced in the industry, they’ll know the importance of complying with the FDA requirements, global regulatory standards and current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).

Most importantly, they’ll work hard to keep your processes running while they get your new installations up and running.

Final thoughts: finding the secure path to saving energy

Cutting back on energy spending can open up an enormous source of competitive advantage for pharmaceutical companies - and help you get closer to your sustainability goals, too.

But, between wasted product, rigid energy plans, and compliance issues, the quest to save on your energy bill could cost you more in the long term. The key is finding a strategy that’s designed specifically with pharmaceutical companies’ needs in mind.

Want to find out how pharmaceutical companies can get energy savings right? Discover the keys to success by downloading our guide to driving down pharmaceutical business costs.