All the foresight in the world; a sturdy hard-wall structure; cost-effective, high-quality disposable protective coveralls as well as a complete and thorough range of other protective clothing; sticky mats; the most contemporary of laminar-flow systems; stringent rules and regulations; a well-trained staff; a smart in-house Laboratory Information Management System for the tracking and logging of processes and stock; a cutting-edge Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan.
But there’s always more. Always more that can be done to if not improve operations, if not improve health and safety, if not improve procedure efficiency, if not improve the final product, then more to improve the environmental footprint of one’s controlled environments, and better achieve sustainable practices.
Key issues to be considered when taking on the challenge of getting greener are: energy efficiency and water efficiency, site sustainability, air quality, and materials use. And in the case of modular cleanrooms, there are a number of clear advantages to be had from the environmental perspective.
Modular cleanrooms tend to be temporary, soft-wall structures, constructed for project-specific use and purpose. This means that, unlike than larger, more complex and permanent cleanroom structures, modular cleanrooms can be frugal with lighting, the infrastructure for air-quality control is focused, while airflow systems and other resources in use at any given time can be more easily limited according to the operations in progress.
Furthermore, with a portable capacity, their re-use, not to mention requisite materials (invariably no aluminum or concrete), the overall carbon footprint is vastly reduced with prefabricated cleanrooms.
The big driver of cleanroom architecture and sourcing has historically been one that takes into account the fundamental issues of process, operations, resources, and product. But with the environmental factor an increasing concern for small, mid and big business alike, the shift towards sustainability has begun. And now that those same businesses are beginning to recognize that sustainability doesn’t have to be an ugly word – that there are requisite, long-term economic benefits to being environmentally conscious – we are seeing a wave of opportunity within cleanroom industries for greater levels of efficiency and cost-saving.