Energy use within our workspaces and data centers is one of our most significant environmental impacts, accounting for 22% of our carbon footprint in FY11. In FY11 we used just under 103,000 megawatt-hours (mWh) to heat, cool, and light our offices, as well as power the computers, printers, and other equipment in our offices and data centers.
Non-renewable energy (mWh)
Renewable energy (mWh)
|Other unknown/purchased fuel||98||0%|
|Sum of total non-renewable mWh||94,163||91%|
|Sum of total renewable mWh||8,809||9%|
Note to chart: We lease nearly all of our workspaces and our energy use is most often embedded into the overall operating expenses of our leases. In cases where we have energy meters in our leased spaces, they typically measure energy used for lighting, plug loads and computer room heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), but miss the significant energy used to heat and cool our spaces. We are working to determine the best mix of submetering solutions and lease provisions we can employ to generate data more useful to our efficiency efforts, but in the interim we use Energy Information Administration's (EIA) 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and Egrid to determine our indirect energy use.
To better manage this energy use, we are working to create a series of standard operating practices and considerations for siting and leasing buildings, constructing and operating offices, and maintaining our spaces with energy efficiency in mind. Further, we are conducting energy, waste, and water audits in PwC’s largest offices, which collectively represent over 80% of our square footage. These audits are helping us to better measure our use, find cost-effective projects that will lead to energy reductions, and help us to identify ways in which we can partner with our landlords on improvements from which we (and sometimes other tenants, too) might both benefit. This is crucial as the split incentive challenge (where incentives for building owners or operators to make improvements are often lacking because the energy cost is paid by the tenants) remains a significant hurdle in the US leased space market.
We are committed to using sustainable materials in our offices and partnering with companies that use sustainable building practices, including certification by the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. In FY11, 38% of our office spaces are in buildings that are LEED-certified or have LEED-certified interiors.
It is intuitive, though rarely the starting point, to focus on reducing energy consumption by reducing the amount of office space used. Through more efficient design, staffing, and use of our space, we are finding ways to cut not only our energy use, but also the leasing and other operating costs related to the amount of space we occupy. Through several initiatives, we estimate that we have cut our need for office space by 20%–25%. This reduction saves an estimated 17 million kWh of electricity per year. Some of the ways we are working toward efficiently using office space and reducing overall energy use include:
Telecommuting – Many PwC partners and staff do not require office space every day to do their jobs. Recognizing this, we have made telecommuting – working from a location other than the office or a client site – a key part of our people strategy. Since 1999 we have supported telecommuting through a mix of flexible human resources policies and technological means to securely connect to our information systems.
“Hoteling” – The use of “hoteling” or "hotdesking" is a trend among many companies. PwC’s take on the practice is different due to the system we have installed and its capabilities. Our hoteling system allows users to choose desks based on where they are and what they need to accomplish that day. One new director with the firm recently remarked, "When I came to PwC I was accustomed to an office in which I could store books and other items I might use in the course of my work. But after three months of hoteling I can't imagine going back to the single office approach. Now, I keep my books at home, use far more electronic reference materials, which also has a positive environmental effect, and simply hotel in whatever office I find myself. As I have a national role, this has proven a perfect solution and without question has improved my productivity." We see this as the proverbial win–win that environmental sustainability can offer: hoteling lowers real estate costs and environmental impacts, and improves productivity.
Virtualized servers – We have virtualized over 2,800 servers in our Data Center. By virtualizing our servers we can run more programs on fewer servers, which has reduced our energy use by 435%, or over 14.7 million kWh, the equivalent of the energy consumption of 1,278 average US homes.
Lightapalooza: a bright idea at our headquarters office
As part of a national initiative to improve the lighting efficiency in all of our offices, approximately 19,000 lights and more than 3,000 ballasts were replaced in our New York City office. A team of more than a dozen electricians and internal firm staff worked on the project that ran from spring to mid-summer of 2011. The lighting upgrade resulted in: