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Intel Cuts Emissions by 45%, Water Use Rises 3%

Intel has reduced its absolute global-warming emissions by more than 45 percent below 2007 levels and more than 40 percent below 2004 levels on a per chip basis as of the end of 2009, according to the company’s 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report. Intel also reduced its PFC emissions by more than 50 percent in absolute terms and 80 percent on a per chip basis from its 1995 baseline. However, water consumption and chemical waste recycling rates increased, in part due to low manufacturing levels and the closure of a U.S. recycling plant, respectively.

Intel’s absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions were down 20 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, while emissions on a per chip basis were up 13 percent due to lower manufacturing levels. The decrease in absolute emissions from 2008 to 2009 was due to reduced PFC emissions and energy-efficiency projects, says Intel.

Here are other environmental highlights from Intel’s progress report.

Intel has maintained its position as the largest voluntary purchaser of renewable energy credits (RECs) in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and announced in January 2010 its plan for eight new solar installations at U.S. facilities. These projects will generate almost 2.5 million watts of solar power by mid-2010.

The company’s purchase of RECs represents 51 percent of its U.S. energy use, which resulted in a reduction of approximately 1 million MM tCO2e in Scope 2 emissions in 2008 and 2009.

The semiconductor manufacturer continued to invest in resource conservation and efficiency projects in 2009, aimed at reducing energy use in its operations. Projects include the 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.

Since 2001, Intel has invested more than $35 million and completed over 1,300 projects, saving more than 640 million kWh of energy, and about $18 million annually in energy costs.

The IT department also has implemented projects to reduce energy consumption of IT-related and office energy, which has cut power costs by $4 million in 2009.

Intel also cut energy use and carbon emissions by expanding its video conferencing capabilities, saving an estimated $14 million and 43,156 travel hours in 2009.

Intel also met its goals to meet energy-efficiency and product ecology targets in 2009. As an example, Intel estimates that the conversion to the energy-efficient Intel Core microarchitecture saved up to 26 terawatt-hours of electricity between 2006 and 2009, compared to the technology it replaced.

Intel also recently released the Xeon 5600 series, which offers improvements in performance, service virtualization and power consumption, with applications ranging from data transactions to workstations performing medical imaging and digital prototyping.

In 2009, Intel also expanded its transparency and disclosure on water use and adopted a new water policy. Water conservation measures also helped Intel reclaim approximately 2 billion gallons of water in 2009.

The chip maker has saved 36 billion gallons of water since 1998 due to its water conservation investments. However, Intel’s water consumption increased 3 percent from 2008 levels on an absolute basis and 38 percent on a per chip basis due to low manufacturing levels and increasingly complex manufacturing processes.

The company expects to meet its 2012 goals to reduce water use per chip below 2007 levels through investments in process optimization and additional recycling and reuse opportunities.

The semiconductor manufacturer also disclosed for the first time the list of its top 50 suppliers, and trained them on new environmental, social, and governance requirements and metrics they’ll be evaluated on in 2010.

Intel recycled 80 percent of its solid waste in 2009 but its chemical waste recycling rate fell to 71 percent in 2009, in part due to closure of a U.S. recycling facility and reduced recycling opportunities in Israel. The company says it will implement new processes to reverse this trend in 2010.

Chemical waste generated was down 13 percent on an absolute basis and up 23 percent on a per chip basis in 2009 compared to 2008. The per chip basis was up due to lower manufacturing volumes.

In 2009, Intel founded the Intel Open Energy Initiative to drive the global transition to smart grids and smart buildings.

The following table shows the progress Intel has made on meeting its 2012 environmental goals.

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