Texas Instruments Builds Chip-Fab Plant With 20% Less Operating Energy Consumption

The "Electronic Business News" of 04/14/06 reports that Texas Instruments' (TI) newest semiconductor fabrication plant, now being built in Richardson, Texas, will require 20 percent less energy per unit of production. The energy savings are expected to reach $4 million annually when the facility reaches full production. With help from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), many energy saving techniques were deployed. View in photo is from the TI website, "overlooking the George Bush Turnpike." Look beneath the fold for details."The biggest energy savings come from an efficient cooling system, which will circulate chilled water through the plant for air conditioning, dehumidification and equipment cooling while collecting excess heat to produce hot water and, when necessary, warm the facility. The innovative heat-recovery system replaced four out of the six boilers that normally would have been required for heating. The remaining boilers won't be used much once the fab's manufacturing tools are up and running, because the tools are expected to generate more than enough heat to warm the carefully insulated facility".

"Further savings come from the plant's solar orientation; a roof that reflects much of the hot summer sun; and a host of other energy-efficiency features, including state-of-the-art exhaust, vacuum pump, lighting and window systems".

The full story included the inference that without the energy saving design, that the project would likely have been completed in China instead of Texas, saving money on labor and taxes instead of energy.

The Choice:
#1: -- Save $4 million a year on operating expenses; 20% less emissions of C02 and mercury (both Texas and China are largely coal powered); keep jobs at home; improve balance of trade in favor of US.

#2: -- Spend less on capital facilities, but spend $4 million more/year on operating expenses; higher emissions; outsource hundreds of local-economy-supporting jobs; worsen the balance of trade.

In Conclusion:
TI made the profitable choice, the green choice, the patriotic choice, the choice of sustainability. Go TI!

Further questions:
Why do not the traditional Plan-Design-Build firms actively lobby their clients to do this for every project?

Has the importance of energy savings equaled or exceeded the role of government tax incentives in steering the location of manufacturing facilities?

Should there even be a role of government in further promoting these types of projects?