Water Use

Water is a core ingredient in the manufacture of our therapies. We recognize the importance of this valuable resource and work to optimize, recycle and reuse it whenever possible.

Intelligent Water Chemistry System in Our Cambridge Cooling Towers

Our Cambridge campus heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system relies on cooling towers. These towers are water-intensive, representing about half of our water usage on this campus. In 2010, we equipped the cooling towers with an intelligent water chemistry control system, allowing us to more accurately monitor the chemical makeup of the water used in the towers (the water needs to remain below a certain dissolved mineral content so pipes do not corrode or suffer from mineral buildup). The new system allows us to cycle water through the system more times before bleeding it off. We estimate the system will save $20,000 and one million gallons of water annually.

Measuring Our Impact in Context in Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC

We believe we should evaluate our environmental impacts in the context of what natural systems can sustainably provide. In 2009, we evaluated the amount of water used at Biogen Idec’s RTP facility with respect to available natural resources and usage of the watershed by other parties. We also considered the appropriate water allocation for Biogen Idec, given the size of our operations and the value of our economic contributions in the watershed. Analysis showed our usage to be well within an appropriate amount for the resources available.

Clean-in-Place Acid Elimination and Water Optimization Project in RTP, NC

In 2009, we worked to eliminate acid from the cleaning cycles through the manufacturing plant while reducing and optimizing water use. From 2009 to 2010, the results of this effort saved more than 5.45 million gallons of water and    
$1.6 million in costs from chemical, energy and water reductions.