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Meeting the 21st Century Energy Challenge Safely

Fred Turco, Pfizer Inc.

Twenty first century laboratories have been eloquently compared to 17th century temples, cathedrals, and other religious places - both culturally iconic building structures showcasing the most modern architecture and engineering of the time while inspiring promising minds to better humankind.

The current day laboratories, however, "consume 5 to 10 times more energy per sq. ft. than do office buildings", according to Labs21. Labs21 also estimates "that half of all American labs can reduce their energy use by 30 percent." Clearly this is not the best engineering our society has to offer, is it?

Pfizer owns or operates approximately 16 million sq. ft. of research and development (R&D) space worldwide (including offices). We have approximately 20,000 R&D colleagues that work in and operate our labs with diverse backgrounds, educations, and facility cultures.

Pfizer R&D spends a significant amount of money on energy consumed largely by our laboratories. Pfizer R&D has approximately 3,900 fume hoods that if lined up would stretch greater than five linear miles. And, fume hood consumption accounts for approximately 10 percent of our annual R&D energy spend. We know we can become more efficient.

This presentation will show how we promoted certain change and drove value added internal standardization in part by leveraging the information provided by Labs21 and the Labs21 community, specifically:

  • Adoption of new minimum air change requirements.
  • Safety acceptance of a first generation high performance hood.
  • VAV sash management initiative.
  • Safety acceptance to utilize energy recovery wheel technology for BSL-2 or less biology labs.

Labs21 Connection:

Each standard change or initiative to promote change listed above is:

  • Driven by a substantive business case/need-all of which were initially substantiated through Labs21.
  • Internally subject-matter-expert-tested, whether the change is at least as 'safe' as our current standard/technology
    • If found not as "safe as," then we internally challenged whether the accepted/current level of safety needs to be maintained, e.g., indoor air changes per hour
  • Being implemented successfully to varying degrees.

This presentation will discuss the process and economic tools utilized (e.g., net present value analysis). Finally, this presentation will address the expected benefits of each change, including environmental, and to an extent social benefits.


Fred M. Turco has a B.S. in Marine Engineering from Mass Maritime Academy and is currently an M.S. in Environmental Management candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health. Fred is a Certified Hazardous Material Manager and Environmental Compliance Manager. Fred has over 11 years of enivornmental health and safety (EHS) experience and 6 years with Pfizer.

Fred leads Pfizer's Global Green Building Team and is a member of Pfizer's Industrial Hygiene, Energy, and Waste Minimization Networks.

Fred is primarily responsible for reviewing and endorsing all major (>$1 million) capital projects for Pfizer's R&D division. In this capacity, Fred works with the research sites on significant EHS issues, coordinates engineering control verification and develops EHS design standards and benchmark data for inclusion in capital projects.

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