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New Texas Instruments Plant Touted as a Model in Energy Efficiency

In a time when many U.S. companies are placing manufacturing facilities in places like India and China to save money, Texas Instruments has built a highly efficient, cost-cutting new semiconductor fabrication plant in Texas.

Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), features the new plant in its March 2006 issue, calling the facility a "state-of-the-art semiconductor factory."

Paul Westbrook, a mechanical engineer and manager of sustainable development at Texas Instruments, provided input for the article in Mechanical Engineering, titled "Efficiency is Its Own Reward." In the story, Westbrook explains how RFAB represents a harmony between energy efficiency and cost controls.

The plant, named RFAB, combines the best practices in cost controls, engineering ingenuity, corporate community relations, and environmental sustainability, according to the story. With RFAB, Texas Instruments made every effort to slash costs by incorporating energy efficiencies into nearly every component of the facility's design and construction.

For example, to reduce cooling costs in the 220,000 square-foot building, engineers designed a plastic membrane that reflects 85 percent of the sun's radiation from the roof. In addition, the windows in the administrative wing of the facility have been designed with special shelves that effectively reflect light far into room interiors, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

RFAB also has been designed with straight ducts and pipes rather than curved plumbing, allowing improved fluid, air and waste flows. The plant uses recycled water to run cooling equipment and irrigate indoor and outdoor landscaping.

The plant is expected to be fully operational by summer.

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