Making more while consuming less

In 2015, MSD’s four Irish sites achieved group certification to the ISO50001 energy management standard


Since 2011, the MSD Ireland sites have drawn down over €11 million from the MSD Global Energy Capital Fund to invest in capital energy efficiency projects



MSD, known as Merck in the United States and Canada, has operations in more than 140 countries. The company employs approximately 1,800 people across its sites in Ireland which encompass manufacturing, R&D, commercial and marketing facilities, in addition to global support services.

As a global leader in healthcare, MSD are dedicated to providing a wide range of innovative health solutions. These include the development, production and distribution of prescription medicines, vaccines and biologic therapies as well as animal health products. MSD also drive and support the on-going development of patient support initiatives.

MSD’s investment and commitment to the environment is clearly demonstrated through its efforts in ensuring the efficient use of energy across its portfolio.

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Figure 1: MSD Ireland sites (clockwise from top left: Brinny; Ballydine; Red Oak; Carlow)


The forward drive to ISO50001 accreditation

In 2015, MSD’s four Irish sites achieved group certification to the ISO50001 energy management standard. MSD is now putting the 50001 standard into practice at these sites, with the aim of having all of their Irish sites working together with an energy-saving mind-set and culture to achieve maximum efficiency.

“The EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) sets certain requirements for industry relating to energy audits and energy management systems,” says Mark O’Connor, EMEA Energy Manager, MSD.  “Article 8 of EED requires companies of a certain size to complete a site wide energy audit. One of the many advantages of having ISO50001 accreditation is that it exempts the group from those requirements.” The direction taken by MSD represents a shift from a purely project investment focused, often short-term and ad-hoc approach to that of a more balanced longer-term, sustainable and regional approach, incorporating operational day to day use of energy control at each of the plants. This approach also aligns with MSD’s continuous improvement philosophy.

“Achieving ISO50001 accreditation as a region has made us all work together better and think differently. Also, when customers ask for evidence of our company’s approach to sustainability we can now point to our ISO50001 certification which shows clearly we are committed as a group to both sustainability and tackling climate change,” Mark adds.

Activity and Savings Achieved

Energy management has been around for quite a while at MSD Ireland sites, with full time energy leads in place for over five years. In that time, over €11 million has been drawn down from the Global Energy Capital Fund to invest in capital energy efficiency projects. While the Irish sites represented approximately 5% of MSD’s total energy consumption globally in 2011, they have accounted for 15% of the Capital Fund CO2 savings for the same period.

The significant CO2 savings achieved have enabled MSD Global to exceed their global CO2 targets early – already achieving a 22% absolute reduction versus the 2020 goal of 15% reduction on their 2012 GHG emissions. New more ambitious goals are currently being prepared for the company looking ahead to 2025 and beyond.


Key highlights for MSD Ireland

  • Over €11 million of capital investment since 2011, relating to approximately 50 different energy saving measures with an estimated average payback of 2.3 years
  • 54GWh of energy saved resulting in 12,381t CO2 savings
  • Energy efficiency savings of approximately 22% implemented
  • 10% reduction in the Irish manufacturing sites’ total energy consumption, when taking production volumes and activity into account

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Conclusion and Future Plans

MSD Ireland has achieved significant successes in recent years through initiatives such as the MSD Energy Treasure Hunt, carried out in Ballydine in 2012; implementation of a 1.5MWe CHP plant at Brinny; and most recently, group certification to ISO50001 for all four MSD Ireland sites.

Looking forward, and in conjunction with the MSD Global Energy Group, the focus will be on continuing to implement energy efficient solutions, increasingly through the operations of the business. With the structure and processes as implemented through ISO50001, the day to day management and control of energy usage through efficient maintenance and operation will yield further savings and help sustain previous wins.

Some current significant energy capital projects being undertaken or evaluated over the next 18 months across the MSD sites include:

  • WWTP fine bubble aeration optimisation - 844t CO2 savings (MSD Ballydine)
  • New 16t boiler replacement project – 1,161t CO2 savings (MSD Ballydine)
  • OPS2 chillers replacement project – 750t CO2 savings (MSD Brinny)
  • Compressor replacement and lighting LED projects - 91t CO2 savings (MSD Carlow)