Cox Enterprises has saved 17,400 tons of carbon through alternative energy projects since 2007 and conserves 20 million gallons of water annually, according to data the company released on the fifth anniversary of its national sustainability program.
The communications, media and automotive services company has implemented energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, green energy sources, hybrid fleet vehicles and other energy-saving measures at its nationwide sites in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2027.
One quarter of the Cox Communications subsidiary’s electricity in California is generated through alternative energy. Earlier this year, the company installed five fuel cells at its San Diego office, two 200kW units that power 100 percent of one Cox Communications facility and three 200kW units that power 90 percent of another Cox building in the city. Cox has 13 fuels cells in California and has completed large-scale solar installations in Arizona, California, Georgia, New Jersey and Oregon.
The $15-billion company also conserves energy with lighting and HVAC systems that prevent more than 14,000 tons of carbon from entering the environment, Cox said, but it didn’t specify a time frame for this figure. The company’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta have received Energy Star certification, and in New England, Cox Communications has an advanced lighting and HVAC control system that automatically shuts down portions of the building during off-hours. This equipment is expected to yield a 30 percent energy savings. Additionally, aging boilers have been replaced with new energy-efficient boiler systems that reduce energy consumption by 40 percent.
At WPXI-TV, a Cox television station in Pittsburgh, 75 percent of the building has a raised floor, which makes heating and cooling the building 25 percent more efficient.
Some 90 percent of Cox Communications’ bucket trucks are zero-emission vehicles when the bucket is in operation, and 98 percent of Cox’s executive fleet are vehicles achieving 27 miles per gallon, according to company reports. Plus, 10 percent of Cox’s 12,000-vehicle fleet is comprised of Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles (PZEV) and LEED-ranked vehicles, and Cox says it saves more than 1 million gallons of fuel each year because of Trimble GPS systems, installed in 5,000 vehicles.
Cox conserves water through wastewater treatment and replacing sinks and toilets with more efficient, low-flow models, and Cox-owned newspapers, such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, employ technologies to prevent the discharge of silver and other pollutants into sewer systems. In addition, its Manheim subsidiary recycles wastewater at two facilities that treat 57,000 gallons daily and produce 34,000 gallons of clean water every day (wastewater treatment process shown in the diagram, above). Cox also partners with groups such as American Rivers and the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and participates in river cleanup projects. In 2011, Cox volunteers collected 4.5 tons of waste through its river cleanups.