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Intel Aims to Reach 100% Renewable Energy Use, Zero Waste By 2030

Reducing waste has been a big priority for companies like Intel and Dell to earn green points.

A 2017 photo shows Intel Corporation’s Ocotillo, Arizona, campus, where the company has built special solar parking structures that keep employees’ cars shaded from 100-degree summer temperatures and generate solar power for on-campus use. The company has installed more than 8,000 solar parking spots worldwide. New solar projects are planned or underway at many Intel campuses, including those in Ocotillo; Chandler, Arizona; India; Vietnam; and Malaysia. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Tech giant Intel unveiled its environmental goals for 2030 recently, committing to cut down its greenhouse gas emissions and waste significantly. By the end of the decade, Intel aims at relying primarily on renewable energy for its global electricity use and eliminate the trash that is being sent to the landfills. It also announced that it would fulfill much of the targets it set for the year 2020.

Currently, the company is recycling more than 90% of its trash and sending almost no hazardous waste to the landfills. The number of greenhouse gases the company pumps out also dropped to roughly 30% since the year 2010, although its annual emissions crept up each year since 2016 as more business under it grew. In terms of water use, Intel cut down its consumption by 38%, which is saving 44 billion gallons in the past decade. “What runs through all of this is that it’s an integrated approach across all of Intel at all levels of the organization, it’s tied back to our purpose as a company,” Suzanne Fallender, Intel’s director of corporate responsibility, tells The Verge.

As scientists warned of an impending catastrophic climate change if greenhouse gases don’t get close to zero by 2050, many tech giants like Intel made sweeping environmental goals to reach in its wake. Dell too plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and electricity use to half by the year 2030. Microsoft set an ambitious goal in January recently of drawing down more carbon dioxide than it emits by the year 2030. The company has too virtually eliminated its carbon footprint since 2012 by cutting down much of its planet-heating pollution and then offsetting or capturing the rest of the emissions.

Intel plans to cut down another 10% of carbon dioxide that comes from its factories, and that’s generated from its electricity use. Last year, those carbon emissions amounted to 2.79 million metric tons— less than the amount one coal plant might pump out in a year. It already purchases enough renewable energy to cover more than 70 percent of its electricity consumption worldwide

 The bulk of Intel’s contribution to the climate crisis comes from its indirect emissions, the ones generated along the supply chain for its products or released as a result of consumers using those products. In 2019, the indirect emissions from Intel amounted to roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide that more than five coal-fired power plants would exhale in a year. Tackling those emissions would be a greater challenge, which the company says it is working on it by make its products more energy efficient. Intel’s notebooks have become 14 times more energy-efficient since the year 2010. Its data center products too at present are 8.5% more efficient.

Intel also hopes to work with subsequent PC manufacturers that buy its chips from, to cut down the carbon footprint of computing. “We think we can take that to a whole other level in looking at sustainability factors,” Fallender says. “We know that our customers in that space also have strong aspirations there, so we think there’s a lot of great opportunity for collaboration.”

Reducing waste has also been a big priority for companies like Intel and Dell to earn green points. Intel is now sending less than 1% of its hazardous waste to landfills by finding ways to reuse it or treat it so that it’s no longer toxic. The ammonia that it leaves behind from manufacturing is reused in the form of fertilizers. The calcium fluoride waste is reused in cement. The environmental announcements by Intel came alongside other goals the company has made as part of its CSR report. The company also wishes to double the number of women and underrepresented minorities in senior leadership positions over the next decade.

Move Every Home in The U.S. To Zero-Carbon Energy

A distinctive American household runs on fossil fuels: natural gas for heat, hot water, and the kitchen stove, gas or diesel to power the cars in the driveway, and coal and natural gas still powering the mainstream of the electricity flowing in the home, even as the quantity of wind and solar on the grid rapidly grows.

A new report looks at what it would take for every household to wholly decarbonize. Not only is it viable with technology that exists today, it finds, but the shift could really save Americans money.

“We’ve been told for a long time that solving climate change is going to cost us a lot of money,” says Alex Laskey, founder and Executive Chair of Rewiring America, the organization that formed the report. “And there have been some people who would argue—and I was among them—that it’s worth it, because there are profitable to be a lot of other costs.” But, he says, precipitous price tags no longer have to be a matter. “The decent news from this analysis is that we can explain climate change, we can decarbonize the economy—if we acquire the financing right, and the supervisory stuff right. We can do it while saving people money slightly than costing people money.”

The usual household spends around $4,200 a year on energy costs; homes in cold climates devote thousands more. We engagement more on electricity, the report says, than we do on education. We spend more on natural gas than going to the dentist. But if homes utterly electrified and shifted to renewable energy, under the right scenario, a household could save an average of $2,500 a year. In a country where even before the pandemic many people didn’t have satisfactory savings to cover a $400 emergency, that’s a genuine articulate amount of money. The calculations don’t account for other savings that are feasible possible, including condensed preservation on electric cars, and lower health costs if pollution drops.

Renewable Energy

To panache the shift possible, the government requirements to permit inexpensive financing, since the truthful cost of buying an electric car or putting solar panels on the roof is still often out of reach. To entirely decarbonize a home—replacing cars with electric models, installing solar and electric heat pumps, and replacing other appliances—could cost $70,000. But because the systems are inexpensive to run over time, if consumers get low-cost financing, they will save money. They’ll save the supreme amount if the government enables a 2% interest rate, incentivizes industry to intensely ramp up production of solar panels and the other desirable technology, and if permitting is streamlined. That best-case scenario would also produce millions of good-paying jobs throughout the country. In a epoch, as the cost of technology continues to drop, financing aid should no longer be necessary.

“When we reflect about infrastructure, we shouldn’t just be thinking about roads, highways, and bridges, and dams, and tunnels,” says Laskey. “Those things are definitely infrastructure, as they were in the 20th century. But the 21st century will also comprise the solar panels on your house and the heat pump in your basement, because those things will be grid-connected. And even if they’re owned by your family, they’ll be providing infrastructure-type services to all of us. If the lights in my home are in part going to be dependable because of the solar panel on your roof, we should to luxury your infrastructure as shared infrastructure. And we should finance it properly and reimburse it correctly for the services it’s providing.”

While several other changes can also relief reduce emissions—such as building denser neighborhoods with decent bike lanes so people no longer feel the essential to drive to run errands or commute to work—the authors wanted to look at what was thinkable if lifestyles don’t change, but technologies do. “People don’t have to spring up their cars or their SUVs or the pickup trucks, and people don’t have to give up their McMansions,” he says. Making the changes would help eradicate a large chunk of the country’s carbon footprint: 37% of U.S. emissions come from discrete households.


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