Sustainable Cleanroom Practices: Modular Cleanrooms

The energy-intensive cleanroom poses challenges in sustainable practices, and modular cleanrooms provide feasible solutions.

Controlled environments inherently require copious amounts of energy resources to maintain the strict standards of operation. Temperature, humidity, airflow, filtration, and pressurization all factor into cleanroom operations, and all demand energy – sometimes 24/7. In looking at ways to make cleanroom practices more sustainable, modular cleanrooms are becoming a popular choice.

There are three major ways in which modular cleanrooms are eco-friendly options:

  1. Materials and Waste. Modular cleanrooms tend to be lightweight. These systems require less material for construction and require less energy to transport. Most pieces of these cleanrooms are reusable, and often are made from recyclable material. Additionally, modular construction can offer better sealing of windows, doors, and other penetrations. This improves the efficiency of the HVAC system and overall energy consumption.
  1. Fit the Space to the Need. Modular cleanrooms allow future expansion to be a possibility without building unneeded space right away. Organizations that anticipate growth would need to build a larger facility than needed, merely guessing their future needs and increasing the likelihood of wasted space and resources. With modular cleanrooms, you build the space you need now and quickly expand when you need to. This also minimizes site disturbance during construction because modular cleanrooms are built in shorter times with fewer equipment and resources.
  1. Life-cycle Flexibility. The panel systems inherent to modular cleanrooms make the buildings incredibly flexible. You can reconfigure doors, windows, and size with minimal disruption compared to a traditional renovation. These structures can also be relocated with minimal expense or downtime.

For operations that don’t require a large, permanent facility, modular cleanrooms are a sustainable, convenient, and affordable option that minimizes much of the headaches associated with traditional cleanroom construction. Gerbig Engineering Company provides AireCell Cleanrooms in both hardwall and softwall options. We can provide standard size enclosures or custom designs. Talk to us about your needs: 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.

Sustainable Cleanroom Practices: Recycling

Can you use recycling as a method of sustainability in your cleanroom facility?

Like any other business, cleanrooms and other controlled environment facilities strive to become more eco-efficient. Operational waste is a large part of this picture, but for cleanroom facilities, it is a unique challenge. Any facility dealing with hazardous materials and other contaminates face difficulties in finding sustainable disposal options.

Major issues impeding cleanrooms from safely using traditional waste programs are the volume of items, materials used, and hazardous leachate. Safety garments and protective gloves compile a significant portion of cleanroom waste, and the synthetic polymers used in these items don’t degrade over time. Contaminates found on these items can seep into the groundwater in a landfill. Incineration can be a more sustainable option, but this releases significant quantities of greenhouses gases and pollutants.

Recycling is therefore a more appealing option, but this poses some challenges, too. Synthetic fiber garments with protective linings and other items made of multiple components are difficult and expensive to recycle. It doesn’t make financial sense to collect, sort, and process these materials through traditional recycling.

Fortunately, non-traditional recycling options have become more available in recent years. One such example is the large-scale recycling program RightCycle, started by Kimberly-Clark Professional. Cleanroom professionals store their used garments, boot covers, hairnets, nitrile gloves, and other related items in onsite collection boxes for recycling. The boxes are organized onto pallets and the sites coordinate pick-ups with TerraCycle.

Coordinating a non-traditional recycling program can help you divert thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds of garments and gloves from landfills. Companies like TerraCycle repurpose the materials for industrial pallets, recycled plastic lumber, and Adirondack chairs.

As you work to make your cleanroom more sustainable, don’t neglect the practices that keep it compliant. Cleanroom validation and certification are key components to a successful operation. When you need either, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We’ve been working with cleanrooms for thirty years and have perfected our services for our customers. Call us at 888-628-0056 or email info@gerbig.com.

Cleanroom Managers: 5 Clear Ways to Speak to any Audience

It’s tough to address every listener’s learning style, but by keeping a few tips in mind, you can keep everyone’s attention during your presentation.

Whether you’re addressing other managers in a conference room or engineers in production, your audience is filled with a variety of listening styles. Depending on what the audience members have to gain, your message may be fully digested by a few and half-heard by most. Given the complexities of working in a cleanroom, it is critical that your communication is clear no matter the purpose. Here are five ways that you can ensure your audience receives information fully and clearly.

  1. Be vocally interesting. Even short presentations are painful to sit through when a speaker is monotonous. Without inflections in tone and volume, you can easily lull your audience to sleep. Note, too, that you don’t want to have to work too hard to be heard. Ensure you have the right sound equipment or room to meet the audio needs of your audience and your volume capabilities.
  1. Be physically easy to watch. If your presentation is a long one, it will be easier for your audience to pay attention to you if you move around a little and use appropriate gestures to emphasize your points. If you are giving a short presentation, you can stay put, but using hand gestures and vocal inflections will help give listeners enough variety to stay focused.
  1. Use visual aids that demonstrate your points. This goes beyond PowerPoint slides or handouts. Any way that you can visually demonstrate what you’re explaining will give a more concrete frame of reference to the listeners. Providing data for them to follow along with us great, but you can also use videos or actual demonstrations. If appropriate, you can incorporate some role-playing. Get creative with how you can demonstrate the information.
  1. Focus on real-life information they care about. Senior-level managers are going to care more about income trends, and the sales team will care more about customer feedback. Identify the real issues your audience relates to, and focus on how your information adds value to those solutions.
  1. Make the most important points memorable. There are certain points you’ll want your audience to walk away with, so make those the easiest to remember. Relate the points to past experiences. Use infographics or other attractive visual pieces to highlight important information. After the presentation, hang signs or banners with goals or taglines as a reminder of what you’re after.

Getting through to a varied group of listeners is a challenge, but by knowing what your audience cares about, and by keeping the delivery as interesting as possible, you can deliver a successful presentation in any environment.

Gerbig Engineering Company provides expert services in cleanroom validation, certification, and construction. To find out how we can help you be successful, call 888-628-0056 or email info@gerbig.com.

Some Cleanroom Considerations for Combined Heat and Power

What are benefits and points to consider when looking at installing combined heat and power at your cleanroom facility?

Controlled environments are notorious for using high amounts of energy and water every year. Air purity, humidity control, and temperature control are all part of the strict parameters that demand such a high consumption of resources. A standard separate heat and power system is only about 45% efficient. This leads a lot of cleanroom facility owners to consider Combined Heat and Power (CHP) amongst other technologies for clean energy.

Reasons for adopting CHP are numerous. Some of the most significant benefits include:

  • Avoiding power outages and production downtime
  • Overall better reliability
  • A reduction in energy costs
  • Predictable future operating costs
  • Extended lifecycle of capital equipment
  • Almost zero water resources are used in the generation of electricity
  • Greenhouse gases and other air pollutants are reduced by 40% or more
  • Grid congestion is reduced
  • The reliability of the electric distribution system is improved

There are, of course, other clean energy technologies to consider, like wind and natural gas. When you’re considering a CHP installation, you have to go beyond the engineering and operational data pints to analyze:

  • Spark spread performance – you’re analyzing the value of the energy you get from the system versus energy input. The ideal ratio is 4 or 5 to 1.
  • How to balance meeting electrical and facility heating/cooling loads.
  • What is means to have an affordable and reliable fuel source.
  • Cost of maintenance – you should allot a percentage of cost per each kW hour generated in a separate account. Use this to pay for routine maintenance.
  • Rebates and/or incentives – Find the programs available to you that will help make the change more affordable.

You can read a more thorough explanation of various benefits here.

Reduction in fuel and energy usage is just one of the many ongoing considerations for cleanroom management. Routine compliance checks are a part of every facility owner’s world. When it’s time for cleanroom certification or validation, contact the experts at Gerbig Engineering Company. We offer reliable and thorough service: 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.