Texas Instruments is a leader in producing semiconductors in the world. With it being global and running plants that consume large amounts of energy you’d hope they want to be energy efficient. When thinking about constructing a new water fab to make the semiconductors, Texas Instruments went for sustainability. But the question is…Was it to help the world? Or to help grow their pockets?
These Water fabs are very intricate, capital and energy intensive buildings. They cost lots of money to set up and just as much to maintain. So when building a newer facility in 2003, TI naturally wanted to create an energy efficient fab. Using energy-efficient equipment, waste heat energy recovery methods, and innovative designs, TI created a fab that reduced energy usage by 38% and cut natural gas consumption by 50 percent. With these reductions that fab cost 30% less and saves the company $4.0 million per year.
TI continued these practices from 2005-2008 and focused more on the water fabrication process. This process itself is responsible for 60% of TI’s carbon footprint. Also, Texas Instruments reduced emissions by 6% in 2008. 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.
I think it is great that a company can continue to strive to cut its energy use as well as it emissions. What makes me curious is if they are doing it for the right reasons. Such as Bowie referred to Kant, TI might be a green company, but is it because they want to help the environment? Or is it because of the million dollar savings they receive? I found it ironic that every fact I found about TI halving or reducing energy I also found a figure in the millions about how much they saved. Is green becoming popular because people truly want to save the planet? Or is it because they want to see more green in their wallets?