Planet and Communities
Planet and Communities
United Therapeutics is in the business of enhancing lives, and that is not limited to our focus on patients. We also put innovative efforts into mitigating our impact on the planet and prioritizing environmental stewardship. This focus has been a central part of our strategy for over a decade. The cornerstone of our commitment to our planet is demonstrated in the industry-leading design and construction of our facilities in Silver Spring, MD; Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC; and Melbourne and Jacksonville, FL.
Net Zero and LEED-Certified Buildings
Our site net zero energy and LEED-certified portfolio includes:
The Unisphere, a 135,000 sq.ft. site net zero energy and Platinum LEED-certified commercial building in Silver Spring, MD
Two additional LEED Gold certified buildings totaling 238,000 sq.ft. on our Silver Spring campus, providing administrative, laboratory, and manufacturing space
25,000 sq.ft. site net zero energy EVLP facility on the campus of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL
14,000 sq.ft. site net zero energy patient support center in Melbourne, FL
11,000 sq.ft. site net zero energy day care center in Research Triangle Park, NC
We recognized early on that the Unisphere would serve as a landmark for our Maryland co-headquarters campus and would also function as a gateway into downtown Silver Spring.
Every element, from the overall building form to the interaction between building systems, was designed to optimize energy saving strategies. This interactive, intelligent building communicates its operations and inspires others to strive for high performance.
Going forward, we will strive to ensure all new buildings are “site net zero” to the greatest extent practicable — meaning the building’s operational carbon-equivalent emissions are at zero as it produces as much renewable energy on-site as it consumes in a year. This is accomplished through a variety of technologies, including solar power, geothermal exchange, earth-coupled heating and cooling, and intelligent building automation systems.
We use a variety of methods to minimize and offset our energy usage.
- Our net zero facilities — the Unisphere, LB-2, the RTP day care center, and the ASSIST office — make up close to 6%of our electric usage portfolio
- Our solar arrays generated energy equivalent to 10% of our total 2021 electric consumption
- Beyond solar, we purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset energy usage by our operations, and in 2021 we purchased RECs that equal 90% of our total electric consumption
- We purchased 4,203 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) carbon offsets through a forest conservation project in Peru
Sharing our Best Practices
More importantly, we are proactively sharing our experience and developed best practices within the net zero energy design community, as we have welcomed a wide variety of governmental and private groups to tour the Unisphere and learn about its innovative energy-saving features. Members of our Corporate Real Estate team have also presented at regional and national sustainability conferences, along with the architectural firm that designed the facility, EwingCole. Working with the same architectural firm for over a decade, United Therapeutics has developed a close collaborative relationship that has fostered innovative achievements and the ability to grow and learn from shared project experiences.
Other Sustainability Initiatives
Sustainability does not stop at the design and construction of our buildings. We have also implemented many other initiatives, including:
- The use of isolation technology to reduce ISO 5 spaces in our manufacturing facilities (used for aseptic preparation of critical processing activities), which in turn significantly reduces the energy consumption required for HVAC, as well as the consumption of gowning materials
- Recommissioning many of our older buildings to improve their energy efficiency and health and wellness impact
- Electric car charging stations
- A commitment by our manufacturing operations to continuously look for innovative ways to implement a variety of different recycling and repurposing measures to divert solid waste from landfills, such as:
- Reusing buffer drums as waste collection bins
- Award winning recycling and composting programs at our main facilities
Our Community Programs
Giving back is the Unitherian way. It is part of who we are. Our community engagement program has historically been organized around two principles: first, supporting causes that are directly related to our mission around PAH and other rare diseases; and second, supporting the communities in which we live and work through monetary donations, as well as supporting volunteerism and service projects throughout the year.
The activities provide meaningful assistance and support to charitable organizations in our communities while fostering a spirit of volunteerism in our employees. Together, we have supported many causes through our volunteer efforts or sponsorships, such as Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army/Boys and Girls Club, Martha’s Table, Soldiers Best Friend, Reality Ministries, Ronald McDonald House of Durham, and Book Harvest.
- In 2021 we provided funding for the Richard Montgomery High School mBIT competition, which is a student- run coding competition for middle and high school age students.
- We work closely with FIRST®, (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which is the leading, not-for-profit STEM engagement program for youth worldwide. The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills; that inspire innovation; and that foster well-rounded life capabilities, including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. As part of this partnership, United Therapeutics sponsors numerous individual FIRST teams. Each team’s goal is the opportunity to attend and compete in the World Championship event at the end of the season. As a leading biotech company, we also sponsor the FIRST Innovation Faire at the World Championship event, which inspires participating youth to seek career opportunities they may not have been aware of with the knowledge and skills they obtained participating in FIRST.
- In 2021, we sponsored the Maryland STEM Festival, which is a month-long festival that encourages all students, regardless of age, background, and experience to take a greater interest in STEM with the hope that they will pursue a STEM-focused career.