Semiconductor giant Intel Corporation has cut its global-warming emissions by 27 percent in 2008, compared to its 2007 baseline, keeping the company on track to meet its goal to reduce its carbon footprint 20 percent by 2012, according to the company’s 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report.
The CSR report highlights the ways Intel has applied its technology to address environmental, social and economic challenges, and summarizes new long-term goals to drive continuous improvement.
Here are several environmental highlights from the report.
Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, reduced its total CO2 emissions from 3.85 million metric tons in 2007 to 2.85 million metric tons in 2008. Specifically, the company reduced its PFC emissions by 59 percent in absolute terms and 80 percent on a per chip basis from its1995 baseline.
Intel has set a goal to reduce its total worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent per unit of production from 2004 through 2010. As of the end of 2008, the manufacturer was on track to meet this goal, reducing emissions 40 percent below 2004 levels on a per chip basis.
Green power is another big effort at Intel. The company became the largest purchaser of green power in the U.S., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Intel purchased more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 47 percent of the company’s purchased electricity use.
Intel also built the first solar installations at its facilities. The company started a pilot program in 2008 to install solar energy systems at three sites. Solar hot water systems at its two largest campuses in India now supply nearly 100 percent of their hot water requirements, saving approximately 70,000 kWh annually.
Intel also announced a new 100-kilowatt (kW) solar installation at the Jones Farm Campus in Hillsboro, Oregon. The DC solar electric system, consisting of 504 solar modules on the roof of Building Four, is expected to offset more than 4 million pounds of greenhouse gas that would have been emitted by coal or fossil-fuel-generated electricity during the first 25 years of the system’s lifetime.
In terms of water consumption, Intel reduced its freshwater needs by 3 billion gallons per year as a result of investments in water conservation programs over the past decade. However, water consumption rose from 7,517 million gallons in 2007 to 7,792 million gallons in 2008. Intel attributes this 4 percent increase in part due to continued growth in production and the increasing complexity of its manufacturing processes, which require more water.
The semiconductor company also increased the amount of solid waste it recycles or reuses from 80 percent in 2007 to 88 percent in 2008.
Although Intel announced a goal to reduce chemical waste per chip by 10 percent by 2012 compared to 2007 levels, chemical waste per chip was up 20 percent in 2008, due to factory start-up operations in Arizona and Israel. The amount of chemical waste it recycles or reuses dropped to 84 percent in 2008 from 87 percent in 2007. To meet its 2012 goal, Intel has implemented additional internal waste goals for processes that it is bringing online in the next two years. It also created a team to look at ways to reduce the use of certain chemicals.
Intel is also targeting energy efficiency, investing more than $23 million in energy efficiency and conservation projects since 2001. This has saved Intel more than $50 million and in excess of 500 million kWh. The company reduced its energy use from 5,757 million kWh in 2007 to 5,643 million kWh in 2008. Energy-efficiency and conservation improvements to date include installation of more efficient lighting and “smart” system controls; boiler and chilled water system improvements; and cleanroom heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and heat recovery improvements.
The IT Sustainability Program Office was created in 2008 to identify opportunities for further reducing its energy consumption. Projects include the development of an innovative way to cool data centers with air economizers, resulting in significant reductions in energy use and a potential savings of close to $3 million per year for a 10-megawatt data center, according to the company.
In 2009, Intel will invest over $5 million on more than 30 projects in an effort to save at least 30 million kWh of electricity and 750 therms of fossil fuel each year in operations. Projects will include placing a control system in one of its office buildings to provide real-time, energy-consumption feedback to occupants.
In terms of energy efficient products, Intel, for example, estimates that between 2006 and 2008, products based on the Intel Core microarchitecture — including desktop, notebook, and server computers — used 20 terawatt hours less electricity than products powered by its previous-generation architecture would have, which prevent 15 million tons of energy-related CO2 emissions.
In 2008, Intel developed a green building policy for new facilities, which includes designing them to a minimum of the LEED Silver level. IDC9, a new design center in Haifa, Israel — expected to open in early 2010 — is Intel’s first LEED-registered building. The company is also working to obtain LEED certification for Fab 32, one of its wafer fabrication facilities in Chandler, Arizona.