Dell Claims Carbon Neutrality

Round Rock (TX) - This morning Dell announced the company has achieved its goal of carbon neutrality in less than a year’s time and five months ahead of their schedule. Dell has done this by using a combination of methods ranging from energy efficiency, carbon offsets from rain forest preservation in Madagascar and voluntary green power purchases. The program was designed to help eliminate or offset 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Becoming a carbon neutral company isn’t simple, Dell managed to get the basics down to a tee: Get the numbers in order, make efficiency upgrades and then offset the rest. The company budgeted $5 million for the project, and that money was spent over a two year period.

Dell’s focus was on three categories: Direct emissions from actual energy production and use of fuel; indirect emissions from facilities energy use; and employee air travel. Carbon emissions from its building energy use was 80% of Dell’s calculated impacts. This is where the company concentrated its major energy efficiency efforts, which allowed them to reduce their emissions by 20,000 tons (4% and worth about $3 million in reduced energy use) of their carbon dioxide footprint annually.

Thus far, Dell has made efficiency improvements its main focus, expecting a return on investment within three years or less. The company has upgraded light fixtures at its Texas campus (which is claimed to be driven by 100% green energy), and updated heating and cooling systems all over the globe. There are occupancy sensors for light and a system power management for all of its computers.

The company said that the company’s annual investment in green electricity from utility providers, including wind, solar and methane-gas capture, has grown from 12 million kWh in 2004 to 116 million kWh in 2008.

Dell also announced that it is making additional investments in wind power in the U.S., China and India. Combined with green electricity purchases from utility providers, this equates to 645 million kWh and the avoidance of more than 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to Dell.

  • JonnyDough
    Now if they'd only put forward another $5 BILLION they could offset all the carbon waste from their past sales of e-waste. But they're not to blame, we as consumers are. Of course, had they actually sold me a "gaming machine" when I asked for one a few years back, instead of a Pentium 3 with a motherboard lacking an AGP slot I might have made a bit more use of it and skipped the early Pentium 4s. So I guess in that regard they did cause me to buy another computer and send one off to the landfill.
  • mdillenbeck
    I wonder if their investment in carbon neutrality is out of genuine concern of the environment our out of a perception that carbon markets are an forthcoming inevitability?

    As already pointed out, the short time viability of their product (called planned obsolescence) might help determine the answer. Of course, almost all manufacturers are culpable in this - Dell can only use the parts available to them.
  • jivdis1x
    Another load of carbon BS. Everyone be afraid of the big bad CO2! Give me a freaking break. It's the gas we breath out and plants breath in. It's great that a company is moving toward saving more green - to be more competitive.
  • blackened144
    And they took the money out of this from their profits right? They wouldnt just pass this cost on the customer now would they?

  • bfstev
    The whole carbon thing is just to make them look good and to keep them compettitive in the market. Dell caiters to the typical consumer who doesn't know all that much about the speciafics of these things. But that consumer sees this and says "i care about the planet." and that makes dell more attractive to them. This was just a secondary benefit of this though but the one that they will tell people was their main driving force. the real reason they did it was it will probably save them millions of dollars in energy costs and utility bills from their overhead, translating this into a worthwile investment.