EEMs: value, cost, complexity

The Novartis corporate energy and climate strategy includes the mandatory application of an energy challenge in all investment projects since 2005. This is intended to ensure that energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources are considered and included early on in all investment projects. If energy consumption and the type of resources used are not challenged in the early conception and planning stage of each investment, it will be much more difficult to fulfill the required energy performance levels and achieve best practice later on. The objectives of an Energy Challenge are to reduce both energy costs and energy consumption, together with the minimization of GHG emissions:

↘ GJ Minimization of Energy Use
↘ tCO2e Reduction of GHG Emission
↘ $$ Minimization of Energy Costs

Scope of an Energy Challenge

Project Costs

  • Full cost consideration, including operational costs for resources, for maintenance and for waste management
  • An analysis of “Total Cost of Ownership”, capturing items of initial purchase, energy consumption and annual maintenance costs for the project proposed

Types of resources

  • Consideration of on-site ‘generated’ energy as well as purchased energy
  • Consideration of other environmental impacts and costs

Operational areas

  • All areas of a site, from production and site utilities, to research and office areas

As each capital project is unique and its circumstances different, content, process, as well as the format and outcome of the Energy Challenge must be specific to these circumstances and may therefore always look different. Common to all is the aim to effectively use energy and to reduce related environmental impacts, both leading, directly or indirectly, to cost savings. The Energy Challenge describes the expected energy consumption and resource type and explores the options of alternative/renewable energy sources. As an exception to normal requirements in a Capital Appropriation Request (CAR), energy projects are allowed to pay back the initial investment over the entire lifetime of the asset.

In order to adapt the process of the Energy Challenge to the size of the project, Novartis defined three different types of energy challenge with varying complexity for three different ranges of project size and approval competence:

The comprehensive Energy Challenge for Group-level or for major projects comprises five review phases (I to V). Non-major projects can follow a simplified process of covering only some of the five review phases, or as necessary to achieve the objectives. These five review phases contain the following elements:

Review I: Description of major energy aspects; during project development / conceptual design

Review II: Identification of opportunities for energy and GHG emission optimization; during project planning / basic design

Review III: Detailed evaluation of energy saving and GHG emission avoidance options; during project detailed design

Review IV: Checks to ensure all energy saving and GHG emission avoidance potentials have been incorporated; during project implementation / construction / installation

Review V: Review of early operating experience; during operation / use (shortly after commissioning / start-up)

An expert discussion on the concept of Energy Challenges showed that following aspects are important for the conduction of an Energy Challenge:

Examples of two energy challenges

In the table below, the characteristics of two Energy Challenges at distinct Novartis sites are summarized.

What Major investment in a new ChemOps and Chemical and Analytical Development site Medium-sized investments in various ChemOps process projects
Site PH Suzhou, Shanghai (China) PH Grimsby (UK)
Project Energy Management Team

External Auditors (independent of the project but familiar with the relevant technical processes (pharmaceutical energy specialists))

Appointed a responsible person early in the design phase

Established communications with other plants that have relevant experience

Used experience to assess realistic operational loads

Value of the Challenge dependent on the time put in by the project team

Internal Auditors (familiar with the site details to find saving opportunities (cost and energy))

Management team made up of:

  • 2 Process Engineers
  • Technical Project Manager
  • Company Environmental Advisor

Small team with appropriate knowledge/ experience

Considered use of an independent representative (3rd party in some cases)

Possible Energy Improvements


  • – Glycol chillers employing evaporative condensers optimally sized for energy consumption
  • Storage and distribution systems engineered to facilitate effective control of parasitic loads
  • Separate cooling system where special lower temperatures are required for short periods
  • Variable speed air compressors with driers powered by heat of compression

Use of Variable Air Volumes (VAVs) on laboratory fume hoods

Significant use of re-circulated air
Air changes per hour well documented in the URS

Being open to innovation, e.g. WWT
Aerators, other utilities and processes

Careful selection of equipment purchased in EU/Asia

Design of independent systems where usage patterns dictate that this is the correct choice

Process description

  • PFDs/PIDs
  • Process design

Equipment review


  • –High efficiency motors, also in Agitators


  • Optimized for process conditions


  • Gravity feed
  • Minimized pipe runs
  • Head storage tanks to avoid transfer pumps
  • In-plant dilution
  • Limited use of control valves

Process Heating/Cooling

  • Opportunity to replace the Hot Dowtherm with Cool Dowtherm

Operation review

  • Summary of existing utility networks and capacities
Additional Conclusions

Write energy into the project User Requirement Specifications (URS)

  • – Use experience and optimize URS in every project
  • Ensure budgets are allocated for energy early
  • Use pre-prepared saving calculation worksheets

Major items, e.g. wind generators, absorption chillers, should ideally have separate funding

Ensure you understand the content of the project before embarking upon a Challenge

Use the tools provided – but don’t let them restrict ideas

Don’t expect all identified energy reduction measures to be implemented – they may not be cost effective, they may be outside the scope of the project, or the time delay to the project may be unacceptable

Read the Full Case Study