What are your goals for 2016?
Bigger, faster, smarter – we want to do more. We just committed to the White House American Business Act on Climate Pledge to triple our alternative energy program by 2020. We will need to come up with 80 new projects to fulfill that promise. We’ve also committed to remaining 100% green powered through 2020 and will continue to meet this benchmark with RECs and on-site installations.
Right now, we’re in the middle of installing a 6.5 MW solar array over the parking lots at our Folsom, CA campus. This will cover 2,500 stalls in a location that has high temperatures, which will be an added perk for employees.
We are also working on digital displays that can share solar generation information in real time. These will help us increase awareness about our initiatives to employees and visitors. We will be enhancing these over the upcoming quarters.
How do you keep communication open between staff across multiple sites?
We meet and we share. More importantly, we don’t sandbox and keep things to ourselves. When we have successes, we talk about them. What we’re doing is not a competitive secret, either internally or externally. We use everything from online blogs and webcasts to face-to-face visits to stay connected.
Our Sustainability in Action grant program also allows employees to apply for funding for their ideas for green projects. We’ve funded projects addressing issues such as energy efficiency and rainwater harvesting, as well as creative suggestions like adding beehives to properties.
Intel offers over 100 electric vehicle charging stations for employees, many of which are offset by PV panels that also provide shade. The tech company has invested more than $118 million in energy efficiency and completed over 2,300 projects in the last eight years. These measures have saved more than 2.4 billion kWh of energy and $249 million as of the end of 2014.
What advice do you have for building owners on how to support their operations with clean energy sources?
Get started – it’s really as simple as that. If you don’t take the first steps, you won’t get anywhere. And if your steps are off, then readjust. It’ll be a continual learning effort.
You also have to realize that renewable energy isn’t an all-or-nothing solution. Don’t feel obligated to feed all of a building’s electricity with renewables. You might have a facility that needs 100 MW so you start by putting in 1 MW of clean power – it’s OK to offset a portion of your demand rather than all of it. Growing your renewable energy mix is like saving for retirement – small efforts will grow over time to ultimately meet your goals.