Effective energy management directly impacts a company’s bottom line and is an important environmental consideration. It is critical to the competitiveness of our business and the reliability of our service to customers.
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1 All 2021 data is inclusive of all AT&T operations (including DIRECTV, Vrio, Xandr and WarnerMedia). Note: In July 2021, we completed a transaction with TPG Capital involving our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company called DIRECTV. In November 2021, we completed the sale of our Latin America video operations, Vrio, to Grupo Werthein. In April 2022, we completed a transaction to combine our WarnerMedia segment, subject to certain exceptions, with a subsidiary of Discovery Inc. In June 2022, we completed the sale of the programmatic advertising marketplace component of Xandr Inc to Microsoft.
2 Electricity is a subset of total energy. Electrical energy represents approximately 82% of total AT&T energy consumption globally. Other forms of energy include steam, chilled water and all types of fuel use.
3 Electricity use is the numerator and is a proxy for total energy use. Total number of subscribers, including North America wireless, wireline voice and domestic broadband subscribers, as identified in our fiscal year 2021 Form 10-K, is the denominator and is a proxy for our production.
Our approach to energy management is constantly evolving as we explore new strategies to manage the energy we use more efficiently and incorporate renewable energy into our portfolio.
We take action to reduce energy consumption from non-renewable sources and source portions of our energy from renewable sources. We approach this effort in 3 ways:
- Investment: Purchasing large-scale renewable energy contracts that deliver clean energy to local grids and reduce our overall Scope 2 emissions
- Reductions and right-sizing: Eliminating unnecessary load by removing power from obsolete assets and properly diminishing capacity commensurate with the customer demand for services through a given technology or platform
- Optimization: Incorporating energy-efficient systems, products, methods and practices into building infrastructure and monitoring the holistic operation and energy performance of buildings and systems to identify and address energy-impacting maintenance deficiencies and opportunities
We work with an integrated energy services provider to compile, analyze and produce annual reports related to our energy use. The content of those reports and all methods related to data calculation, estimation and aggregation are reviewed each year to identify opportunities for improvement. We also obtain annual, independent assurance for select energy figures as well as Scope 1, 2 and 3 (select categories) emissions. For our 2021 reporting, S&P Global Sustainable1 conducted this assurance effort. Its rigor in this process helps us realize continual, year-over-year improvements in accuracy. Learn more in the Independent Accountant’s Report.
We provide information about energy use, efficiency projects and renewable energy purchases to AT&T’s Corporate Social Responsibility Governance Council, composed of more than a dozen officers representing each of our operating companies with responsibility for business operations and management functions aligned to our most important environmental, social and governance focus areas. This council is led by our Chief Sustainability Officer, who works with the Governance and Policy Committee of the AT&T Board of Directors to achieve a wide range of sustainability-related business objectives.
The AT&T Energy Policy states, “As a global communications leader, effective energy management is critical to the competitiveness of our business and the reliability of our service to customers.” The policy also outlines our commitment to “developing, in our offices and labs, new technologies and approaches to energy use” and calls for a comprehensive energy strategy with clear goals, metrics and management systems.
Developing the policy spurred several energy management initiatives, beginning with the creation of a full-time energy management team staffed by certified energy and project management professionals. The energy management team is led by the Assistant Vice President – Network Engineering, as a part of the Implementation, Provisioning and Optimization organization. The energy team oversees a broad range of programs, including deregulated purchase strategies, regulated utility rate optimization, authorship of corporate energy and infrastructure policy directives, renewable energy purchases, and development and implementation of scaled energy efficiency and energy conservation measures.
Our energy management systems, strategies and framework are reflective of ISO 50001 principles, including:
- Establishment of a defined Energy Policy
- Identification of suitable targets (buildings, systems, types of actions) for application of the Energy Policy
- Use of data-driven decision-making
- Critical evaluation of results of decisions
- Continuous improvement and adjustment to policies and systems to reflect advancement in energy management capabilities and best-in-class practices
Our energy management systems have evolved over the last several years. Today, we increasingly rely on information flowing from fully instrumented buildings and platforms, energy use data feeds from serving utilities, and machine learning capabilities to help steer our program direction.
AT&T works with internal and external organizations to identify better ways to source energy, including incorporating renewable energy into our portfolio.
We continue to be one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy in the United States. AT&T is currently ranked 8th on the EPA’s Green Power Partnership Fortune 500 Partners List. In 2021, we supported the production of more than 2.3 billion kWh of renewable energy.
AT&T is always looking for ways to embrace advanced technologies and big-data analytics in the routine management of business functions. This is evident in our use of technology to support our energy efficiency goals and objectives.
AT&T’s Energy and Building Management Solution (EBMS) is changing how we manage our operations and seek to reduce our energy consumption. EBMS uses our network to gather and centrally manage performance data from facility equipment across the country, allowing us to understand performance base years, monitor equipment status and move from reactive to predictive maintenance – while reducing unnecessary energy use. In 2021, we continued integrating EBMS across our footprint, with deployment complete at approximately 1,030 facilities.
Over this period, the AT&T Network organizations accelerated several transformation and decommissioning programs designed to improve overall asset utilization by systematically decommissioning and removing obsolete and outmoded network capacity and hardware. We continue to shift control from hardware to software to make our network faster, simpler and more scalable. Our software-defined network allows us to make advances in minimizing unused capacity, unnecessary energy expense and real estate square footage.
Energy Management Platform
Making energy data accessible and clear to energy managers across the company is essential to success. Each month, more than 300,000 utility invoices are uploaded to a centralized platform accessible to internal network operators, real estate managers and other AT&T employees who manage energy use. All bills are subjected to careful audit to identify anomalous usage and ensure proper application of all charges. The energy team uses this data to benchmark energy performance, set expectations and budgets, and assess usage trends over time. Employees and contractors across all organizations can access a dashboard in the energy platform with facility-level energy data and state-of-the-art energy management tools to inform decisions and analysis.
Our energy scorecard is central to our energy management program. It provides visibility for facility energy consumption and project activity. Fed by the energy management platform, the scorecard generates easy-to-understand grades of our top 800 energy-consuming facilities and 1,200 energy-consuming retail locations. The grades are based on energy consumption and activity, including initiatives related to energy efficiency projects. Scorecards are available to facility managers, making energy consumption performance data available across the team. We have found that this increased visibility helps us set goals and promote innovation through shared learning.