GERSTEL has for many years developed and produced chromatography sample preparation technologies that eliminate or significantly reduce the use of organic solvents. Examples are stir bar sorptive extraction (SBSE, GERSTEL Twister), dynamic headspace, thermal desorption, automated solid-phase extraction (SPE) and autosamplers that enable μ-scale liquid sample preparation. Such technologies benefit the external environment and also the laboratory environment, leading to improvements in occupational hygiene and in the quality of results.
GERSTEL technologies and our products have been well received world-wide, resulting in steady growth. The expansion forced GERSTEL to move production to a separate location in 1999 and parts of R&D to a third location in 2004. In 2007, the opportunity finally arose to significantly reduce the environmental impact of GERSTEL’s daily operations by consolidating all company sites in new headquarters that include several energysaving technologies. The building was chosen as the “Energysaving building of the month” in May 2008 by the North-Rhine-Westphalia Energy Agency.
Prior to the construction phase, energy savings were modelled using computer simulation and the findings implemented for insulation, cooling, heating, lighting, shade effects, use of geothermal heat pumps (for both heating and cooling) and for heat exchangers in the ventilation systems. The total reductions in CO2-emissions amount to 41400 kg per year.
Some details: Lighting systems have been optimized for energy efficiency. Motion sensors and light sensors enable the system to switch off lighting in unused areas and to reduce lighting whenever adequate daylight is available. Projected savings in electricity amount to €15000/year. Highly effective thermal insulation has been implemented throughout in combination with special energysaving window panes and blinds that reflect sunlight. Heating or cooling is provided by geothermal pumps connected to 14 probes, each placed at a depth of 130 metres in the ground using a natural gas heating system as back-up. Laboratories that need to be kept at a specified temperature have been equipped with traditional air conditioning for cooling, but energy from ventilated warm or cool air is recovered through heat exchangers that are built into the ventilation system.
By consolidating three sites, the need for operations-related driving was reduced by 30000 kilometres per year and the new GERSTEL headquarters are better placed for commuting by public transportation, further helping to reduce the use of private cars.
As an aside, all GERSTEL company cars meet the latest, most stringent European guidelines for exhaust emissions. GERSTEL has a long-standing recycling programme for paper, cardboard, polymer based packaging, production scrap metal, electronic waste, cans and bottles. Hazardous waste, such as residual solvents or waste electronic products, is disposed of in strict compliance with rules set up by the state of North Rhine Westphalia or by the German federal government. Our new company headquarters have put GERSTEL on a good track for future growth with limited environmental impact. In addition, the entire operation has become more energy efficient resulting in welcome savings at a time when high energy costs are taking a toll on companies and households worldwide.