ATT Sustainability Report: Energy Intensity Cut Nearly 24%

by | Jun 23, 2010

AT&T has reduced its energy intensity (energy use relative to data growth on its network) by 23.8 percent, exceeding the 15 percent reduction target set in 2008, according to the company’s 2009 Citizenship and Sustainability Report. The company attributes the energy use decrease to unseasonable weather, which lessened the need for cooling and heating. AT&T’s 2010 goal is to reduce energy intensity by 16 percent compared to 2009.

The report highlights a variety of initiatives including the appointment of a new energy director to oversee companywide energy management efforts and lead AT&T’s Energy Council, and participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Save Energy Now LEADER initiative with a pledge to reduce energy intensity 25 percent by 2019. AT&T also has pledged to complete a water footprint assessment in 2010.

AT&T’s environmental investments over the past year range from alternative-fuel vehicles to energy-efficiency projects for facilities.

By the end of 2009, A&T had rolled out 970 alternative-fuel vehicles as part of its ten-year commitment to deploy15,000 fuel-efficient vehicles across the nation through 2018. The company plans to replace retiring passenger vehicles with alternative-fuel models and deploy approximately 8,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) service vehicles by the end of 2013.

In February, AT&T announced it reached 1,000 alternative-fuel vehicles in its fleet.

In 2009, AT&T emitted 1,170,232 metric tons of direct (scope 1) emissions of C02-equivalents (CO2-e), which represent 13 percent of its emissions inventory. The number is larger than reported last year, which the company attributes to expanding its scope 1 inventory to include emissions related to vehicles used for international operations and fugitive emissions related to its use of refrigerants. Without these two new additions, scope 1 emissions would have been down slightly year over year, according to the report.

AT&T’s ground fleet continues to emit the majority of its scope 1 emissions, which has resulted in the company taking steps to increase its fleet’s efficiency.

In addition to the planned investment of up to $565 million in alternative-fuel vehicles through 2018, the company is also focusing on fuel and driving efficiency with its current vehicles and reducing the number of truck dispatches needed to service its customers. These efforts led to a 7 percent decrease in fleet-related emissions.

The company’s indirect (scope 2) emissions represented 86 percent of its emissions inventory for 2009, at 7,745,546 metric tons of CO2-e. These emissions come from the electricity purchased to power its network and operations, and from steam purchased to heat a handful of facilities.

A&T increased its 2009 emissions inventory to include the electricity used by its international real estate operations. Even with the addition of international scope 2 emissions, AT&T’s year-over-year scope 2 emissions declined by 2 percent.

The company’s scope 3 emissions related to business travel accounted for 57,706 metric tons of CO2-e in 2009, which represents less than 1 percent of its 2009 emissions inventory. Domestic scope 3 emissions were down slightly in 2009 from 2008 levels, but the addition of the international emissions resulted in an overall slight increase for 2009.

In 2009, the company implemented several initiatives targeted at improving its network energy use for cell sites, central office switches and network equipment. The company deployed power-down software at 14,000 cell sites, replaced tower light controllers and incandescent bulbs with LEDs at tower sites and used economizers to take advantage of cooler outside ambient air, reducing the use of HVAC systems.

In 2008, AT&T developed a three-year target plan to improve the energy efficiency of its 33 enterprise data centers and 38 Internet data centers. When these initiatives are fully implemented, the company expects to realize 96.4 million kWh in annualized energy savings, reducing CO2-e emissions by 69,231 metric tons annually.

By the end of 2009, the company achieved a total savings of 43.6 million kWh, which is equal to 31,312 metric tons of C02-e.

AT&T also has been working on facility upgrades since 2007 with a focus on upgrading HVAC and lighting systems. The company estimates that the 429 projects it implemented in 2009 saved approximately 36 million kWh, which is equivalent to 25,868 metric tons of CO2-e.

Ten of AT&T-operated facilities received Energy Star certification. AT&T is also replacing outdated signage on more than 6,500 AT&T office buildings and retail locations with LED lighting systems.

Renewable energy is another key initiative. In 2009, a second large-scale solar power plant was installed at AT&T’s campus in Secaucus, New Jersey. The 841-kW system will produce 1.0 million kWh of electricity per year. The company is evaluating other potential renewable energy deployments.

AT&T also kept 72.1 million pounds of network scrap materials out of landfills by reusing, selling and recycling materials including copper, copper cable, lead, lead-acid batteries, steel, plastic, and aluminum. The company also collected more than 63,000 computers, monitors and servers for donation, reuse and recycling in 2009.

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