Efficiency Projects Save Texas Instruments $5.1M

Efficiency Projects Save Texas Instruments $5.1M

Texas Instruments (TI) saved $5.1 million last year by undertaking 159 projects designed to save energy, water and other resources.

The wafer fabrication processes used in semiconductor manufacturing means that energy accounts for more than 60 percent of the Texas-based company’s carbon footprint, and 94 percent of its overall utility budget. Water is responsible for 6 percent of its utility expenses. TI shrunk its global carbon footprint by 2.8 percent in 2008 to 2.07 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Since 2005, TI has reduced emissions by roughly 6 percent, the company said in its 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which is available online.

To do this, TI cut energy use by 5 percent and water consumption by 7.3 percent in 2008 through 159 initiatives that include:
• A well-water cooling system in Freising, Germany, cycles water from an underground aquifer through the site’s heating and cooling system. Since the water is isolated from other processes, the clean water can be returned to the aquifer. The system nets the facility nearly $1 million in energy savings and reduces annual water use by about 33 million gallons.

• Using water to scrub manufacturing exhaust allowed the company to reuse about 228 million gallons of water in its North Texas air abatement systems last year, savings TI about $937,000.

• TI’s energy steering committee targeted energy-intensive chillers and vacuum pumps as a potential energy savings opportunity. They worked with suppliers to identify more efficient replacement equipment, which in some cases halved related energy costs, a 2008 evaluation found.

Climate Change Risks and Opportunities Facings TI

The company described in the report the challenges and opportunities it faces from climate change, largely due to regulations are in place or on their way in many of the markets in which it operates.The company said it is concerned about operating costs increasing by both achieving and maintaining compliance and the costs passed on to it from regulated suppliers of raw materials, process chemicals, gases and energy. It also worries that replacement materials needed in semiconductor regulation won't be successfully developed, such as perfluorocarbons (PFCs), HFCs and SF6, which are fluorinated gases with great global warming potential that will face greater regulatory scrutiny in coming years.

On the other hand, TI's work making its power management devices and microcontrollers more energy efficient are favorably positioning the company for a carbon-constrained economy. Its scope of product reaches several fronts, ranging from electronics, industrial equipment appliances, PCs, automobiles and buildings, and the company also is working to boost efficiency in several applications, such as social media, seminars and communications. In addition to energy efficiency, any existing or forthcoming legislation will also favor renewable and untapped energy, such as solar, human body heat and kinetic energy, all of which are being explored by TI.

TI's Track Record for Green Buildings, Employee Commuting, Waste and Air Quality

TI has set a goal of certifying all existing buildings worldwide to LEED standards by 2011, while all new construction will adhere to LEED. The company operates a LEED-Gold certified chip manufacturing facility and an assembly and test plant in the Philippines, which is the country’s first LEED-Silver certified building.

The company avoided a greater amount of employee commuting-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2008, largely through increased use of vanpools, mass transit and onsite shuttles. The amount of daily emissions avoided rose 14 percent in 2008.

The company currently has a 91 percent waste diversion rate, meaning that just 9 percent of the waste generated worldwide is sent for disposal. TI has a goal of achieving 95 percent recycling rate and a 5 percent annual improvement. Its waste stream is broken up in two streams: industrial and non-industrial waste. TI recycled 88 percent of its non-industrial waste in 2008, compared to 93 percent of industrial waste.

The company has worked to reduce the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in its refrigeration systems by phasing out equipment that requires refrigerants, such as water chillers for large facilities. TI trimmed the number of large chillers from 204 to 35 by late 2008; total CFC refrigerant use has dropped 49 percent since 2007.