Monday, July 18, 2011

Paul Westbrook, Sustainability Development Manager for Texas Instruments

Where to start?  To say Paul Westbrook is a green crusader does not even begin to cover some of his incredible accomplishments.  His interest in sustainability began many years ago and reached what proved to be a defining moment in Paul’s life when, in 1996, he decided to research, design, and build the most energy and economically efficient home possible.  The home began to capture the attention of the surrounding community and eventually several executives at TI who asked for a tour of the home.   Paul pointed out that he had located his home site in relation to the path of the sun, a design strategy better knows as passive solar orientation, and he had constructed the buiding envelope using structurally insulated panels (SIPs), added a 1.8 kW wind turbine, a geothermal heat pump, a solar water heater, a desiccant wheel air-to-air heat exchanger and many more “green” features.   Some very interesting gadgets and visuals for sure, but once the “higher ups” at TI realized that Westbrook’s 2700 square foot home had an average monthly electric bill of $81 a month, then Paul really had their attention.  They naturally wondered if the same principals could be applied to a new manufacturing facility planned for construction in Richardson, Texas (RFAB).   They challenged Paul to find out, and empowered him with the tools and resources he requested, including an opportunity to partner with the renowned environmental scientist and author, Amory Lovings of the Rocky Mountain Institute.  
After Paul’s report on the potential energy and water savings the new facility could realize, the TI executives decided to move forward with a sustainable design for the RFAB, but only if the design and construction cost could be accomplished at 30% savings to previous fab designs.  This challenge forced out-of-the-box design strategies such at rethinking space efficiency (building two levels instead of three levels), adding dual size chillers for heat recovery and reduced energy cost, site solar orientation, reflective roof material, planting native grass that would use only natural irrigation (after established) and adding an on-site lake to capture rain water from the slope of the land and building.  Paul not only met but exceeded the challenge presented to him, and in 2006, his efforts resulted in the opening of the world's first LEED certified Semiconductor Manufacturing Facility.  A beautiful 92 acre campus site (with room to expand), 1.1 million square foot facility, which includes a 284,000 square foot “clean room.”   
Surprisingly, the 30% savings challenge (or $180 million) was not aggressive enough, according to Shaunna Black, vice president of TI.  TI invested a total of 1.5 million in LEED related cost (or about 1% of the projects budget), and in return realized a savings of over $150 million -  including $44 million saved for space efficiency measures, $42 million saved on electrical reductions in system sizes and complexity, and $32 million saved in chemical and gas improvements.  
Additionally TI saved $1 million in operating cost in the first full year, and at full build out, has saved more than $4 million in operating cost per year by reducing energy cost by 20%, reducing water usage by 40%, and eliminating emission reductions by 50%.
As a result of the success of the RFAB site, all new major projects of TI’s will be LEED registered projects.  
Paul continues to facilitate and encourage efficiency strategies at all TI location world wide, and this August will serve as guest host to representatives from all TI locations for an “Energy Champions Workshop,” where advocates from other sites can share ideas and learn from each other about sustainable strategies that are working.  Sustainability is now part of the culture at TI and the triple bottom line approach of people, planet, and profit is a company mantra.  Yet another example of how the power of one person can grow to affect real change on a global scale. 
For that I can only say, a very respectful thank you to Paul Westbrook. 

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