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Industry Leaders Saving Energy

May 6, 2010 - 11:35am


Companies such as 3M, Intel, PepsiCo and Whirlpool are participating in the Energy Department’s Save Energy Now LEADER initiative, committing to reducing their energy use by 25 percent or more in 10 years. Another established company participating in the program, AT&T, is also making that commitment to saving energy while producing more renewable power at many of its locations across the country.“We’re taking meaningful steps to run a more-efficient network and explore alternative and renewable energy use,” John Schinter, director of energy for AT&T Services, Inc., says.

The company utilizes wind and solar power at some of its buildings. In Austin, Texas, it uses wind power for 10 percent of its electricity consumption, allowing AT&T to save 7.2 million kWh of fossil-generated electricity — enough to power 600 homes each year. At its facility in San Ramon, Calif., AT&T launched a 3,700 panel high-efficiency SunPower solar system. That system generates more than 1.6 million kWh of electricity a year — enough to power more than 165 homes.

“Our goal is to learn from these pilot efforts and determine the suitability of wind and solar projects for additional locations in the future,” John says.

AT&T is not only exploring renewable energy options, but also is improving its overall energy efficiency. At some sites, thermostats are locked and equipment is cycled on and off to reduce run time. Light switches are equipped with occupancy sensors, and AT&T’s data centers help the company find ways to monitor its energy usage. By doing so, it is finding ways to consolidate, streamline or retire technologies such as heating and cooling systems, and the company expects to save enough energy to power 9,602 homes. Added to that is the electricity AT&T expects to save by using energy-saving software on 310,000 of its desktop computers this year — enough to power 14,892 homes.

“These are important early steps toward setting specific energy-reduction targets across the company,” John says.

Companies that participate in the DOE’s initiative are provided with savings assessments that can help identify more energy-saving opportunities. The program continues to help companies save millions of dollars annually while many simultaneously increase production and reduce their dependency on fossil fuels.