Jan. 31, 2012, 1:00 p.m. EST
Sprint Leads Wireless Industry in Green Power, Securing No. 13 on EPA Fortune 500(R) Green Power Partner List
Only wireless carrier named to National Top 50
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Jan 31, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Sprint Nextel /quotes/zigman/240259/quotes/nls/s S +1.28% announced today that the company has moved up from No. 20 to No. 13 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Fortune(R) 500 Green Power Partner list, and to No. 26 on the National Top 50 list highlighting the largest green power purchasers. Sprint is the only wireless carrier to appear on the National Top 50 list. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are the two key components of Sprint’s plan to reduce its carbon footprint. Sprint’s renewable energy efforts build upon its existing relationship with the EPA to protect the environment through its electronic waste efforts and device recycling programs.
Sprint has secured more than 170 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, enough to meet 5 percent of the organization’s electricity use and offset 100 percent of the company’s energy use at its Overland Park, Kan., headquarters. Sprint’s latest renewable energy initiative was the purchase of a strategic portfolio of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from renewable energy provider, 3Degrees. A renewable energy certificate represents the environmental attributes that are created when electricity is generated using renewable sources such as wind or solar.
“We are proud to again be named on the EPA’s Green Power Partners list,” said Gene Agee, vice president – Procurement & Real Estate, Sprint. “Our recent efforts to expand our use of renewable energy products and significantly improve our energy efficiency, demonstrate our commitment to reducing our environmental impact and leading the industry toward cleaner energy solutions.”
The EPA considers “green power” as generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydropower. According to the EPA, purchases of green power help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants that threaten Americans’ health, and help accelerate the nation’s voluntary green power market. Purchases of green power help expand the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
“The EPA applauds Sprint for greatly increasing its green power purchase and for taking a leadership position on the environment,” said Blaine Collison, Director of the Green Power Partnership. “Green power can be one of the easiest ways for an organization to address its carbon footprint and to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity generation.”
Sprint leads the U.S. telecommunications industry in terms of kilowatt hours of renewable energy products in its portfolio. According to the U.S. EPA, Sprint’s green power is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 24,000 passenger vehicles per year, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 15,000 average American homes annually.
A sustainability leader
Sprint’s leadership in environmental sustainability has earned the company substantial recognition. For the third year in a row, Sprint ranked highest among all U.S. telecom companies on Newsweek’s 2011 Rankings of America’s Greenest Companies at No. 3, up from No. 6 in 2010. Sprint was also ranked highest among the wireless carrier industry on the Dow Jones Sustainability Leadership Index North America.
For more information on Sprint’s commitment to renewable energy solutions, visit http://www.sprint.com/responsibility/ouroperations/climate_change .
To learn more about Sprint programs that protect the environment, go to www.sprint.com/responsibility or follow @SprintGreenNews on Twitter.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index showed Sprint is the #1 most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the last three years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint .
Sprint Marci VerBrugge-Rhind, 913-794-6319 [email protected]
Sprint understands that climate change is a critical issue and that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
is an important goal. As a large corporation with thousands of locations throughout the United States, Sprint has a role to play in the reduction of GHG emissions and is actively engaged in making a difference. Sprint has committed to absolutely reduce its GHG emissions by 15% and increase its use of renewable energy to 10% by 2017. Sprint has actively worked to reduce its GHG impact for the past several years, as evidenced by its large purchases of renewable energy, investments in alternative-energy research, energy efficiency programs, and its game-changing Network Vision project.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Sprint is the first and, to date, only U.S. telecom company to publicly announce an absolute GHG–emission reduction goal. By 2017, Sprint intends to reduce GHG emissions by an absolute 15% compared to 2007 levels. The 15% reduction applies to scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, less any offsets for renewable energy. Sprint’s strategy to reduce GHG emissions is two–fold – improve energy efficiency and increase use of renewable energy.
GHG Emissions Reporting Methodology
Sprint uses the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders GHG methodology for its GHG emissions calculations. This methodology is based on the protocol developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) – the globally recognized standard–setters for GHG–emissions measurement. Sprint measures direct emissions (scope 1), indirect emissions (scope 2), and portions of optional emissions (scope 3). For scope 1 and 2, we include emissions from all sources where we maintain operational control.
Sprint’s supplier emissions were calculated through an engagement with Trucost, a leading environmental impact assessment firm. Sprint provided Trucost with its supply chain spend data for November 2009 through October 2010. Trucost then calculated the external damage cost and the direct and indirect carbon emissions for each supplier, which were apportioned based on expenditure. To learn more about the methodology or to review a copy of the project’s Highlight report, click here.
In early 2008, Sprint developed its first GHG Inventory Management Plan, which was reviewed and approved by Climate Leaders, a climate partnership program between industry and the EPA. This plan was updated in 2009 and 2010 as part of Sprint’s Climate Leaders submission, and then again in 2011 as part of Sprint’s GHG verification project.
Drivers of Sprint GHG Emissions
Electrical use (scope 2) is the single largest driver of Sprint’s controllable (scope 1 and 2) GHG emissions, contributing 96.4% of the total. Sprint’s direct emissions account for only 3.6% of controllable emissions and include: fuel use for our stationary and mobile emergency–power generators, natural–gas usage for heating at a small number of sites, jet–fuel usage, fuel used by our vehicle fleet (approximately 2,000 cars and vans), minor fire–suppression discharges, and minor leak discharges associated with our heating and cooling systems throughout our enterprise.
The majority of Sprint’s GHG emissions come from electricity use in Sprint’s networks (82%). Overall, the Network organization is responsible for 85% of total controllable GHG emissions. The other Sprint organizations contributing to Sprint’s GHG emissions are: Real Estate (8.5%); Retail, Sales and Marketing (2.5%); and IT (4%). Nearly all of Sprint’s controllable emissions are in the U.S. (99.45%) with just .55% coming from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam combined.
In 2010, our emissions increased 2.4%. This increase can be attributed to two main factors: 1) an increase in network capacity to support the high growth in data traffic, and 2) the acquisitions of iPCS and Virgin Mobile. A break–out of the factors contributing to our net increase is provided below:
|Increase in network capacity||
|Change in wind offset calculation||
|Reduction of retail stores||
|IT emissions reduction activities||
|Other reduction activities||
|Total change in emissions||
A breakdown of Sprint’s scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emissions can be seen in the table below. There were three significant changes in Sprint’s 2010 GHG reporting from its 2009 reporting:
- External Assurance: Sprint engaged CH2MHill, an engineering firm with strong experience in carbon management and assurance, to conduct an external verification of its scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions for 2010. Click herefor a copy of Sprint’s Verification Statement.
- New Carbon Intensity Metric: Sprint added a new measure for GHG emissions – metric tons of CO2–e per terabyte of data transported across our wireless and wirleine networks.
- Supply Chain Carbon Emissions: Sprint expanded its scope 3 emissions reporting by assessing its Supply Chain GHG emissions.
Sprint Greenhouse Gas Emissions – 2007 through 2010 (in Metric Tons of CO2–e)
(1) Expanded scope of covered generators in 2010. Carried backward for consistency.
(2) Detailed analysis conducted in 2009, but not in 2010. Carried backward for 2007 and 2008, forward for 2010.
(3) Assessed for 2007. Data on all AC equipment not currently available. Working on new data capture method.
(4) Supply Chain emissions figures are for November 2009 – October 2010. Trucost assessment.
In addition to disclosing its GHG results on its web site, Sprint publicly discloses its annual emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). CDP is an independent not–for–profit organization holding the largest database of primary corporate climate change information in the world. In October 2010, CDP recognized Sprint for its commitment to measure and manage the company’s carbon footprint. Sprint was among 53 companies named on CDP’S S&P Fortune 500 Leadership Index for its carbon disclosure efforts.
Please click here for Sprint’s 2011 CDP submission.
Although Sprint’s primary performance measurement for its GHG emissions is the percentage of absolute reduction, Sprint has established a new measurement in 2011 that captures the intensity of our carbon emissions, or the reduction of emissions on a per–unit basis. Since the majority of Sprint’s GHG emissions are driven by electricity use in the Network, the logical intensity measurement for Sprint is GHG emissions per unit of traffic carried over the networks. All of our traffic can be measured in terms of terabytes of data. A terabyte is equal to 1 trillion bytes or 1000 gigabytes. A byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bits. Historically, a byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer.
Sprint’s started measuring terabytes of data across its wireline and wireless networks in 2009. From 2009 to 2010, Sprint’s carbon intensity improved 22% as traffic grew by more than 60% on our wireless networks and by 25% on wireline. Sprint added 1,111 new cell sites to accommodate the traffic increase. This metric demonstrates the challenge Sprint faces as it works to absolutely reduce its carbon emissions in a period of substantial growth. Our forecast is that our carbon intensity measure will continue to improve despite increases in our absolute GHG emissions over the next several years. As our Network Vision project completes, our GHG intensity should be among the best in the industry.
Network Vision and GHG Forecast
Perhaps the most important news for Sprint GHG efforts in 2010 was the announcement of the Network Vision project. Through the Network Vision project, we will upgrade our existing wireless network infrastructure so that it becomes capable of supporting multiple spectrum bands, or airwaves, on single, multi–mode base stations. Our cell sites will be more compact, more energy efficient, and able to provide better coverage and call quality for our customers. This is expected to result in a temporary increase in GHG emissions but ultimately produce a significant decrease.
Over the past several years, Sprint has used separate equipment to deploy services on 800 MHz spectrum, 1.9 GHz spectrum and, through its relationship with Clearwire, 2.5 GHz spectrum. The new architecture in Network Vision will allow us to integrate our wireless networks. The project is expected to cost between $4B and $5B USD and result in GHG increases over the next three years. The increases are the result of having both the old and new network hardware and software operating side–by–side until we’re able to move all traffic off the old infrastructure and decommission the hardware. We expect absolute GHG emissions to increase to a peak of 3.1% above the 2007 baseline in 2013, and then decrease 7% in 2014, and another 9% in 2015. By the end of 2016, we should achieve the full 15% reduction target.
Promoting Energy Efficiency
Sprint’s primary approach for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is to improve its electrical–energy efficiency. The table below shows the four functional areas responsible for Sprint electrical–energy use and their usage in kilowatt hours for the past four years.
Sprint Electrical Usage by Function, 2007 to 2010, in kWh
As you can see, Sprint’s Network organization is responsible for the majority of electrical use (86.5%), with Real Estate a distant second at 7.5%, IT third with 3.5% and Retail fourth with 2.5%. When it comes to GHG–emission reduction, each business function has its own target and is responsible for its results. Since 2007, Real Estate has improved its energy efficiency the most with an overall reduction of 24% from 2007 through 2010. IT has actually increased its usage over that same period and was the only organization to increase emissions in 2008 rather than reduce. The increase in IT emissions was the result of the addition of several data centers through some business acquisitions. Although IT could have adjusted its baseline to account for the acquisitions, it chose to absorb the increase and not adjust the baseline or target. Network saw a large reduction in kWh in 2008, but saw a slight increase in 2010 as our customer base and data usage grew. Retail has also shown steady improvement since 2007.
Energy Efficiency Efforts 2007 – 2010
The Sprint Real Estate function improved its energy efficiency significantly from 2007 through 2009, but increased slightly in 2010. The gains from 2007 through 2009 were the result of efficiency programs and building consolidation. Throughout the past decade, the Real Estate team has been gradually improving the energy efficiency of our commercial facilities. Some actions include:
- More than 75% of our square footage, has a building automation system deployed
- Most have energy efficient lighting in place
- Building managers have strong methods and procedures to follow for energy management
- Inefficient heating and cooling systems have been replaced with more efficient systems as they reach the end of their life cycle.
In addition, Sprint’s Real Estate team has curtailed employees’ desk use of optional electrical devices (such as personal heaters or refrigerators) and put reminder stickers in conference rooms to turn off the lights when done using the room. Many sites have their lights automatically shut down at night and on weekends. Temperatures in buildings are kept a bit cooler in winter and warmer in summer. Perhaps the most important effort our Real Estate team developed was the five–year wind–purchase agreement through Kansas City Power & Light. Through this agreement, Through this agreement, Sprint is able to purchase 87.6M kWh of wind power from KCP&L annually, which represents over 90% of the electrical power used annually at our Overland Park Kansas campus.
IT has significantly improved its energy efficiency over the past four years, despite taking on an increase in managed data centers (as a result of business acquisitions), and an increase in customers (in 2010). For the first few years (2007 – 2009), IT focused on reducing the complexity of our IT environment. We identified, consolidated and removed redundant or unused applications and their supporting infrastructures and simplified the hardware and software footprint in Sprint’s data centers.
Forrester Research completed a case study on this effort and concluded that the benefits were significant. “From January to December 2008, Sprint retired 127 applications, decommissioned or redeployed more than 2,239 servers, and freed up 291,042 gigabytes of storage. This translated into $28 million of redeployable assets, a $20 million reduction in operating costs, and a reduction of data center–related carbon emissions by 10,450 metric tons.”
In 2010, the Sprint IT department undertook a series of successful emissions reduction and operational–efficiency programs, despite taking on an additional 5% burden in kWh through the acquisition of iPCS. The efforts included:
- Deployment of variable–speed fans throughout the IT datacenters in order to improve the efficiency of the air–handling systems
- Deployment of proximity lighting throughout the IT datacenters in order to lower the power used for lighting the data centers
- Increased use of server virtualization, allowing Sprint to reduce the number of standalone servers by 399 while significantly driving up utilization
- Adoption and deployment of a number of storage–efficiency technologies such as reducing the number of storage arrays, virtualizing an additional 3.5 petabytes of data, and thin provisioning over 700 terabytes of storage
Click here to view an interview with Sprint’s VP of IT Operations, Josh Morton about Sprint’s Green IT best practices.
Network Vision: Energy Impacts
With purchased electricity as the major driver of Sprint Greenhouse Gas emissions (96%), Sprint’s greatest opportunity is reducing its electrical–energy consumption. By far the largest opportunity is within Sprint’s Network organization which consumes nearly 87% of its total electrical use. Within network electrical use, wireless sites account for 87% and wireline sites 13%. Cell sites consume 70% of the total energy for Network, with switch sites a distant second at 13%. Although cell sites are Sprint’s largest reduction target, there are over 50,000 of them, making operational or equipment changes costly and time consuming.
Today, Sprint uses separate equipment to deploy services on 800 MHz spectrum, 1.9 GHz spectrum and, through its relationship with Clearwire, 2.5 GHz spectrum. Under the terms of the new contracts, our Network Vision partners, Alcatel–Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung, will install new network equipment and software that brings together multiple spectrum bands, or airwaves, on a single, multi–mode base station.
With Network Vision, Sprint will make substantial changes to the cell sites that power its wireless network. The top image shows Sprint’s existing base stations, which require single, refrigerator–sized cabinets for each technology. The Network Vision multi–mode base station will require less space and consume less energy. Other advantages will include the ability for Sprint to use spectrum bands on multiple technologies, replacing coaxial cables with fiber that is not affected by signal loss and improved remote radio heads that replace existing less efficient radios.
The implementation of multi–mode technology throughout the Sprint network will:
- Enhance service
- Create network flexibility
- Reduce operating costs
- Improve environmental sustainability (reduce carbon footprint)
Sprint expects its total kWh of electrical use to increase through 2014, decrease in 2015, and achieve the full electrical reduction target in 2016.
Investing in Renewable Energy
Sprint is a leader within the U.S. in terms of actual renewable energy in use and is ranked among the top 25 on the EPA Green Power Partners Fortune 500 list. Sprint is the only wireless provider to be included in the list. Sprint’s green energy initiatives include wind, solar, hydrogen fuel cells and geothermal power. Our first step in purchasing wind energy was in 2004 when we purchased Green-e wind energy certificates for one of our headquarters buildings in Overland Park, Kan. In two years, Sprint prevented approximately 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere with these purchases. In April 2006, Sprint made a significant commitment to renewable energy, announcing a five–year agreement with Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) that facilitated the building of the Spearville (Kan.) Wind Farm.
As part of that agreement, Sprint agreed to purchase 87M kilowatt hours of wind energy per year for its 200-acre Overland Park, Kan., headquarters campus from Kansas City Power & Light via the Spearville, Kan. wind farm. In 2010, wind power provided 93% of Sprint’s Overland Park campus energy needs. This purchase provided a reduction of 78,173 metric tons of C02 equivalents in 2010 and according to the EPA GHG equivalencies calculator is the equivalent of:
- Taking 15,328 passenger cars off the road for one year;
- Consuming 181,798 fewer barrels of oil a year;
- The electricity used in 9,747 households each year; or
- Preserving 774 acres of forest from deforestation.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Leadership
Sprint also has one of the largest deployments of hydrogen fuel cells within the U.S. wireless industry. Beginning in 2005, Sprint gained expertise through a first deployment of over 200 early generation fuel cells to wireless network cell sites in largely hurricane–prone areas like New Orleans; Houston; Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa, Fla. In addition to providing 16 to 20 hours of back–up power, the cells proved to be dependable, required little maintenance and could be deployed in places where diesel generators couldn’t due to noise or emissions restrictions. This first deployment also outlined some key lessons – the greatest being that cells needed to provide 72 hours of back–up power versus the existing 16–20 hours.
In April 2009, Sprint was awarded a $7.3M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding earmarked for fuel cell technology. The award was finalized in March 2010 and provided funding to support Sprint’s effort to develop and deploy improved hydrogen fuel cells as back–up power for cell–sites. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate the economic and operational viability of 72–hour fuel cell systems that can provide critical back–up power to Sprint’s wireless networks; and to provide a cleaner, more renewable alternative to diesel–powered back–up generators.
Sprint has collaborated with hydrogen fuel cell manufacturers and hydrogen suppliers to improve and standardize the technology and refueling process to enable broader adoption. Sprint also worked with the DOE to train local fire marshals and code officials on the benefits of hydrogen fuel cells, and to facilitate installation approvals. The new hydrogen fuel cell technology provides 72 hours backup power, making it a cleaner, more viable alternative energy solution for many industries.
Thanks to the DOE grant, Sprint plans to more than double the number of existing hydrogen fuel cells deployed across the nation by the end of 2012. As of June 2010, Sprint has deployed the first 13 Hydrogen Fuel Cells, with 194 total units forecasted by year end 2011, and the balance to be commissioned in 2012. Sprint has deployed more than 250 fuel cells to cell sites across the U.S.
Click here to read more details on Sprint’s hydrogen fuel cell program.
Renewable Energy Advancement
Sprint currently works with two national laboratories – Sandia in Albuquerque, N.M., and National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colo. – on such initiatives as energy storage and hydrogen fuel cell assessment. In addition to deploying hydrogen fuel cells at cell sites across the nation, Sprint is using solar–powered energy at cell sites in California and New York. Photovoltaic panels capture solar energy to power sites during the day, and then switch back to commercial utility at night.
In addition, Sprint has deployed a geothermal system at a network site in South Carolina. This system reduces electricity use through improved cooling efficiency and reliability that reduce high heat equipment shutdowns. In this system, the heat from the cell site is transferred to a heat exchange system and cooled through wells drilled in the ground.
In April 2007, Sprint also installed a small wind turbine on its Overland Park, Kan. campus to test use of wind as a primary power source for cell sites. The turbine was the first of its kind in the community and continues to provide excellent data for our energy researchers.
Measuring and Reducing Scope 3 Emissions
Sprint started reporting business–travel emissions in 2009 for 2008 results. Sprint was the first U.S. carrier to publicly report GHG emissions associated with business travel. In 2010, Sprint decided to measure and report on the aspect of scope 3 emissions considered the most significant – supply–chain emissions. Sprint evaluated the measurement and reporting options available; reviewed the draft WRI scope 3 protocol; and after a thorough interview process, commissioned Trucost, a leading environmental–impact measurement organization, to analyze the carbon footprint of its supply chain.
Trucost’s approach offered a unique opportunity to quickly and affordably get a cradle–to–gate assessment of Sprint’s supply–chain emissions and identified supply–chain “hot spots” on which Sprint could begin work. Sprint now has a clear understanding of its total supply–chain emissions, which sectors contribute the most, and which suppliers make the most sense to work with for a targeted–reduction program.
Key findings of the report are available below. Click here to see a copy of the Highlights Report.
- The total GHG emissions arising from Sprint’s supply chain amount to 2.08M metric tons of CO–2
- 98% of Sprint’s supply–chain expenditure is covered by the footprint analysis
- The top 10 suppliers of Sprint’s supply chain contribute 78% of the total carbon footprint. The top 50 account for over 94% of the carbon.
- Manufacturing is the most carbon–intensive sector with nearly 83% of the total carbon emissions and 67% of the expenditure. Handset manufacturers make up 65% of the total carbon emissions and just under 50% of the total expenditure.
- Out of 162 suppliers covered in the analysis, 34 have verified their emissions through Trucost and account for 81% of the carbon emissions and 70% of the analyzed expenditure.
- The carbon intensity of Sprint’s supply chain is relatively low compared to many other industries.
- Within Sprint’s supply chain, 7% of the carbon is generated by our suppliers’ direct emissions, and the remaining 93% from our suppliers’ suppliers.
Sprint expects to measure its product use and employee commute emissions by the end of 2011.