Intel is continuing its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint with the news that it plans to create new solar electric installations at eight of its US locations, generating around 2.5 megawatts of solar energy.
The company has also increased its renewable energy credit (REC – the currency of renewable energy markets) purchases by 10%, covering more than half of the company’s estimated US electricity use in 2010. As a result it has (again) been named as the largest voluntary purchaser of green power by the EPA.
Intel has a long-established commitment to increasing energy efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint and says it has spent $30m and saved more than 650 million kilowatt hours of electricity worldwide since the program started in 2001.
The company’s other actions include:
• Investments: Intel Capital, Intel's global investment organisation, has invested over $125m in more than a dozen cleantech companies.
• Renewable energy installations: As well as the US solar installations, Intel has a solar thermal installation in Bangalore, India and will shortly be opening the company’s first LEED-registered building in Haifa
• Employee Engagement: A portion of each employee's variable compensation is apparently tied to company performance against environmental metrics, which include reducing Intel's absolute carbon footprint growth. “As a key element of Intel's new solar installations, awareness kiosks will be set up in each site lobby to educate and engage employees in the company's energy efforts”.
Whilst Intel has clearly put a lot of money and effort into increasing efficiency and reducing emissions, I’m also impressed by the employee engagement part. Educating and engaging employees will help spread the word beyond the company’s own operations, which must be a good thing. Having compensation tied to environmental metrics is also great, providing employees are engaged and have some responsibility for achieving the goals. (Tying compensation in with a scheme that employees are not engaged in and with which they have no meaningful input would be a potential disaster).