Environment, Safety & Health
Solutions to Climate Change
Semiconductors are the foundation of modern computers, information technology, and communications products, ubiquitous in;
- advanced manufacturing processes,
- transportation systems,
- health care devices,
- building controls,
- energy generation equipment, and
- many other sectors of the economy
As a result, semiconductors are a key enabling technology to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption worldwide. Additionally, as the country’s top exporter, we are responsible stewards of the environment which is why in 1998 the EPA granted World Semiconductor Council (WSC) one of its first Climate Protection Awards.
As a manufacturing industry we are responsible for very small amount of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, approximately 0.12 percent. Most of the industry’s emissions are associated with the use of fluorinated gases (F-gases), without which semiconductor manufacturing is not technically feasible.
Although the industry contributes a very small percentage to total U.S. GHG emissions, SIA and its members have been proactively engaged in ongoing efforts to reduce these emissions.
- Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with EPA, SIA members have voluntarily reported on their emissions of PFCs, a category of GHGs. Under this agreement, SIA members reduced their collective absolute US emissions of F-gases by more than 35% since 1995; and down 50% from their peak in 1999.
- SIA and its members have participated in the efforts of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) to reduce emissions of PFCs. The global industry committed to a 10 percent reduction from a baseline year; the industry has far surpassed this goal and achieved a reduction of 32 percent in absolute emissions.
Semiconductors are the key technology that will enable us to harness alternative energy sources.
Virtually every communications tool, electronic device, machine, vehicle, electrical system and medical device runs and operates using a semiconductor. The technology is ubiquitous in modern life, and because it touches almost everything we touch it has tremendous potential to preserve our renewable resources by increasing the efficiency of electronic devices.
Advances in semiconductor technology form the electronic components that will open new doors in energy savings. Here are just a few examples;
- power management and virtualization in computers and data centers,
- electronic-controlled efficient motors in factories,
- light emitting diodes to replace compact fluorescent and incandescent bulbs in offices and homes,
- plug-in electric vehicles on highways,
- solar panels and wind turbines generating electricity, and
- smart meters and sensors that will intelligently monitor and control power lines.
Energy savings are limitless with ongoing advances in semiconductor technology. Studies from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy show that;
- From 1978 to 2008, automobile miles per gallon have improved 40%,
- Lighting lumens per watt have improved 339%,
- While computer system instructions per second per watt has improved 2,387,000%.5
- A sizeable percentage (15-20%) of U.S. electricity can be saved by optimizing the performance of motor systems