TI’s “Green Fab” Cost 30% Less — and Will Save $4 Million per Year

TI’s “Green Fab” Cost 30% Less—and Will Save $4 Million per Year

A typical wafer fab uses as much energy as 10,000 homes. Energy bills run as high as $25 million annually. Given the cost of energy, TI decided to go as “green” as possible when it built its fab in Richardson, Texas.

Shaunna Black, vice president of Texas Instruments (TI) gave a presentation at the International Trade Partners Conference in Maui, Hawaii on November 6, 2007. She stated, “At TI, sustainability means operating in a manner that balances people, profit, product, and the planet. We call it the triple bottom line.” She stressed that sustainable processes deliver services without exhausting resources, and that sustainable manufacturing facilities work with nature and use resources efficiently to achieve better results at a lower cost and with less impact on the planet.

World’s First LEED-certified Semiconductor Manufacturing Facility

Since 1995, TI has used the dual principles of efficiency and resource conservation to design and construct TI facilities. TI combined these efforts and followed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles while designing the company’s new 300 mm wafer fab in Richardson, Texas (RFAB). The RFAB plant will be the world’s first LEED-certified semiconductor manufacturing facility. TI is applying the same practices to the design and construction of two other sites, and investigating the retrofit of all existing buildings to incorporate energy and resource-saving features.

TI used a new approach and a new structure which is very effective—the LEED Green Building Rating System. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based, U.S. standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. It is increasingly used internationally, and can be applied to new construction (LEED-NC) and existing buildings (LEED-EB). It uses a point system to encourage more sustainable facilities.

Challenge: Fab Cost Reduction

The RFAB project was a 92-acre site for a 1.1 million square foot project, with 220,000 square feet of cleanroom space, and capacity for almost 1,000 employees. The challenge was to reduce fab costs per square foot by 30 percent ($180 million) from the previous fab by forcing space efficiency (two levels versus three levels) and developing an innovative design. Black said that TI partnered with Amory Lovins and a team from the Rocky Mountain Institute to use a green framework. Using “out-of-the-box” thinking, TI decided that using a sustainable design would not cost more.

TI’s “Green” Project Design

For building design, the LEED certification process has five broad categories.

    1. Sustainable Site: TI met this criteria with these attributes: erosion control, alternative transportation access, bicycle storage, carpool parking, protection of open space, use of reflective concrete and shade trees, light pollution reduction, and storm water management.

    2. Water Efficiency: LEED certification requires no irrigation on site after the first three years—landscaping must rely on natural rainfall. The category includes reducing irrigation by 50 percent, innovative wastewater technologies, and water use reduction.

    3. Energy and Atmosphere: This encompasses chlorofluorocarbon reduction in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment, as well as optimizing energy performance. One LEED requirement is eliminating artificial light in the fab as much as possible. TI also focused on tools and support equipment efficiency, shell efficiency, and facilities systems integration and efficiency. TI stressed measurement and verification: “If you don’t measure it—you can’t manage it.” Buildings must be commissioned every five years.

    4. Materials and Resources: TI recycled almost 90 percent of fab construction waste, and used many local/regional materials.

    5. Indoor Environmental Quality: This includes tobacco smoke control, carbon dioxide monitoring, using low-emitting materials for paint and carpeting, and monitoring temperature and humidity. In addition, TI offered an outside view for 90 percent of spaces.

New Fab Cost 30% Less—Better for the Environment and the Bottom Line

“LEED provided a mechanism to get people to focus on making good choices for the long-term good of the building and occupants,” according to Black. Yet, TI invested less than 1 percent of the project cost (less than $1.5 million) in LEED-related items. Black’s original goal of spending 30 percent less on the Richardson fab than TI’s previous 300 mm fab turned out to be not aggressive enough. Just on the five “big ticket items”, $150 million cost savings were realized. She broke those savings down: space efficiency (saved $44 million), electrical reductions in system size and complexity (saved $42 million), chemical and gas improvements ($32 million), mechanical engineering ($22 million), and changes in DI water plant ($10 million). In addition, Black estimates that TI will save $1 million in operating costs in the first full year, and at full build out, more than $4 million per year—due to a 20% energy reduction, 35% water-use reduction, and 50% emissions reduction.

Continuing Efforts at TI

The LEED structure works well, especially for engineers who like structure and competition. It also allows TI to keep improving over time. TI is committed to LEED registration for all new major projects, including their new Philippines site. It is also assessing the LEED-EB certification for all of its existing fabs and buildings. In addition, TI is working on its first sustainability report.

This is the first article in a two-part series about Texas Instruments. The follow-up article is located here.

For information about ITPC, visit www.semi.org/itpc. For information about how your company can become more sustainable, visit www.semi.org/ehs. For information about Global Care, visit www.semi.org/globalcare.