As a neighbor and frequent visitor to California for work, family and play, the California drought and the millions of residents who are adjusting their water habits are frequently on my mind. At the end of May, I cycled from Santa Barbara to the San Diego-Mexico border. The beautiful California coastline and mild temperatures were a welcome break from the oppressive Arizona heat, but I couldn’t help notice the impacts of the drought – from desiccated landscaping to empty farm fields to active discussions at each coffee shop, restaurant and pit stop along the way.
With limited rainfall and no easy fix to the drought in sight, it’s clear that everyone across the state – from homeowners to large corporations – must step up and play their part to conserve water. That includes all of us here at Intel. I’m proud to say that we have focused on conservation in our business operations for years, and we continue to integrate environmental considerations across all facets of our business.
In the past two years, Intel has reduced fresh water consumption by a third at our sites in Santa Clara and Folsom, California – saving more than 80 million gallons per year – and we have plans for further reductions.
We achieved this initial reduction through a variety of initiatives, including:
- Reductions in landscaping water usage from smart controllers and irrigation, including drought-resistant landscaping designs
- Improved fixtures for sinks, showers and restrooms at our sites
- Cooling tower and chiller plant optimization
- Using outside air for data center cooling
Our commitment to water conservation predates the California drought, and we’re continually looking for new ways to conserve water. Since 1998, Intel has invested more than $220 million in water conservation programs at our global facilities, which have saved more than 48 billion gallons of water – enough to supply around 470,000 U.S. homes for an entire year. In 2014, we internally recycled approximately 3.9 billion gallons of water.
For more information about Intel’s sustainability initiatives, I encourage you to take a look at our 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report and learn more about our water policy and strategies. In addition, we would love to hear what you are doing so that we can learn and further improve our own practices. In the meantime, as the temperatures continue to soar into the triple digits in the Phoenix area, I can only daydream of the Malibu coastline and my next cycling trip to California.