Climate Corps: How AT&T found 3 ways to reduce its water use

With our three-pronged approach in hand, we undertook a pilot program to evaluate our strategy and begin building a business case to scale the effort within AT&T.

Implementing the pilots was not always a smooth process, but the bumps we encountered along the way taught us valuable lessons for rolling this out more broadly.  Some of these lessons were:

  • One size does not fit all: Each building is very unique in its characteristics. While some sites are newly updated, others have antiquated infrastructure and Building Management Systems. Recognizing those differences helped us develop unique strategies to address these diverse facility conditions.
  • Competing Priorities: The property managers juggle busy workloads and serve many customers, so adding water and energy efficiency initiatives to their plates can be challenging. Support from company leadership as property managers take on new responsibilities is critical for success.
  • Lack of water treatment expertise: Water treatment for cooling towers can be confusing and complicated. The task is often performed by outside vendors. Increasing the knowledge and expertise of those charged with managing water cooling towers can unlock water savings.

One of the benefits of pilot projects is to work out some of these hiccups before the project is scaled. The lessons we’re learning will make AT&T smarter for the next phase of the project. 

Sharing the lessons

By working together, AT&T and EDF have the power to spread the knowledge that saving water is not only the right thing to do, but can also lead to significant cost savings throughout the industry. This unique initiative can potentially impact the way companies think about their water usage and lead to billions of gallons of water saved annually.

As I return to school, the pilots will continue to run. I'm inspired and proud to know that AT&T and EDF are pursuing water savings before the well runs dry!