Intel Sustainability Report: GHGs Per Chip Up 48%
The measure, which Intel terms its Normalized Production Index, is indexed to a year 2000 baseline. The company assumes a typical chip size of 1 sq m. The CO2 NPI rose from 22 in 2011 to 32 in 2012.
Intel says the increase was largely due to decreased production at the end of the year. It also says that the NPI does not take into account the number of additional manufacturing steps used in newer process technologies.
Since 2008 relative emissions are down 26 percent, from an NPI of 43. The company says it is still on track for its goal of cutting GHGs by 10 percent, on a per-chip basis, by 2020 from 2010 levels.
Intel has declared the report at GRI Application Level A+. The report is available as a PDF download, and as sections combinable through a report builder site. That site also offers further environmental data.
Last year saw large rises in many of the company’s per-chip metrics, including GHGs, water and especially waste, and a smaller rise in its relative energy metric.
In 2013, the company says it will place a strong emphasis on reducing water use and chemical waste, and driving higher levels of energy-efficient performance in its products.
GHGs and renewable energy
Intel’s absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions were up 32 percent in 2012 compared to 2011. Scope 1 emissions were 794,000 metric tons CO2e. These include electricity, natural gas, liquified petroleum gas, diesel fuel, perfluorocompounds (PFCs) used in manufacturing, nitrous oxide, heat-transfer fluids and refrigerants, volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions that are oxidized to CO2 in Intel abatement systems, on-site vehicles such as security, and Intel’s air shuttle.
Scope 2 emissions were 1,054,000 metric tons CO2e, including renewable energy credits. Before RECs were taken into account, scope 2 emissions were 2,330,000 metric tons CO2e.
The EPA has recognized Intel as the country’s largest voluntary purchaser of green power for the past five years, and this year the company is increasing its green power purchases to almost 3.1 billion kWh – equal to 100 percent of its projected electricity use, from 85 percent in 2012.
Since 2009, Intel has partnered with third parties to complete 18 solar installations on nine campuses in the US, Israel and Vietnam, generating more than 10 million kWh of energy per year. It says that this year, it is exploring a broad expansion of its solar hot water program, and will pilot wind micro-turbines and ground-source heat pumps at its site in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Estimated scope 3 emissions included 1,000,000 from direct materials suppliers, 294,000 from transportation and distribution of inputs and operational waste, and 176,000 from business air travel.
Energy use and efficiency
In 2012, energy use in Intel operations increased 6 percent from 2011 on an absolute basis and increased 15 percent on a per-chip basis. Intel attributes the per-chip increase to lower manufacturing output at the end of the year.
Last year Intel invested about $30 million in energy conservation and efficiency projects, achieving energy savings of 117 million kWh. These projects included installation of more efficient lighting and system controls; boiler and chilled-water system improvements; and cleanroom heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and heat recovery improvements. Since 2008, Intel says it has invested more than $59 million and completed over 1,500 projects, saving more than 1.2 billion kWh of energy and $111 million.
The company says that it plans to this year publish energy conservation targets for 2016 to 2020.
In 2012, Intel reduced the number of data centers across its operations from 87 to 68. It replaced older servers with fewer higher performing servers based on the latest Intel Xeon processors and solid-state drives, which helped the company cut its cost per compute unit by over 10 percent. Intel also increased its virtualization percentage from 64 to 75 percent, and piloted a new technology to cool servers by bathing them in oil.
Video-conferencing allowed employees to eliminate more than 100 million miles in travel in 2012, saving over 600,000 hours of travel-related downtime and avoiding 95,000 metric tons of travel-related CO2 emissions, the report said. During 2012, Intel IT supported an average of 975 video conference meetings per week.
The company says it is on track to meet a 2020 goal of a 25-fold increase in the energy efficiency of notebook computers and data center products, from 2010 levels.
Intel last year piloted four electric vehicle charging stations for employees, and plans about 95 more this year.
Water withdrawals in 2012 rose versus 2011, 21 percent on a per-chip basis and 8 percent on an absolute basis. Intel blames the rise on the increasing complexity of its manufacturing processes.
But the company says it completed water conservation pilots and initiated design projects that will help it meet a goal of cutting water use on a per-chip basis below 2010 levels by 2020.
It also says its estimated net water use is much lower, as about 80 percent of the water it uses in operations is returned to the local water system. In 2012, Intel internally recycled about 1.7 billion gallons of water, equivalent to about 18 percent of its withdrawals.
The company’s largest water impacts come from direct operations and factories, and its smallest comes from direct materials suppliers.
Intel’s solid waste generation leapt 95 percent from 2011 to 2012 on an absolute basis, and 118 percent on a per-chip basis, which Intel says was due primarily to ongoing construction of new manufacturing facilities. (It also restated its 2011 solid waste figures, which were overstated in last year’s report; and included data from a number of smaller sites for the first time.) Almost half of its solid waste generation was related to construction.
Intel projects the trend will continue. But to address this and help it meet its 2020 goals, Intel says it is evaluating new treatment technologies.
In 2012, Intel’s global solid waste recycle rate was 88 percent, up from 85 percent in 2011. Its 2020 goal is to recycle 90 percent of solid waste. To emphasize the goal’s importance to employees, Intel has included the waste recycling metrics in its 2013 employee bonus. Since 2008, Intel has linked part of every employee’s compensation to sustainability goals. It focused on carbon emissions reductions in 2012 and is this year turning its focus to recycling.
The company’s other solid waste goals are for zero chemical waste to landfill, and a 10 percent cut in chemical waste generation on a per-chip basis from 2010 levels. Last year chemical waste was up 34 percent on an absolute basis and 50 percent on a per-chip basis compared to 2011, which Intel again pins on the increasing complexity of its manufacturing processes.
Last year the company gave an award to an Israeli team that pioneered a process to recycle 89 percent of two chemical waste streams, saving a projected $1.5 million a year. These streams were previously shipped to Israel’s national waste management site, where they were blended with other fuels and incinerated.
In 2013, Intel plans to roll out out a new initiative across its sites, aimed at significantly increasing the composting of pre-consumer and post-consumer waste in on-site cafeterias and converting to all reusable dishware and utensils.
From 2011 to 2012, absolute NOx emissions were up 2 percent and per chip NOx emissions were up 14 percent. Absolute CO emissions were up 4 percent and per chip CO emissions were up 16 percent.
Absolute VOC emissions were up 9 percent and VOC emissions were up 22 percent on a per-chip basis. Absolute HAP emissions were up 7 percent and per-chip HAP emissions were up 19 percent.
The report did not say why these metrics rose, but said that its long-term trend is positive.
Other environmental issues
Last year Intel convened its first Supplier Sustainability Leadership Summit in China to advance supplier responsibility performance. The company also requested that its top 75 suppliers publish a Global Reporting Initiative-based report by the end of 2013 to promote greater transparency.
In 2012, the company received five EHS-related notices of violation, the same as in 2009 and 2011, and slightly more than in 2008 and 2010. Associated fines were a five-year low of $500.
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