Effective energy management is a critical factor in limiting the impacts of climate change and strengthening the resilience of communities. Energy management practices also directly impact the reliability of service to our customers. AT&T’s approach to energy management is constantly evolving as we explore new energy efficiency strategies and incorporate renewable energy into our portfolio. Our effort focuses on 3 elements—growing our supply of renewable energy; optimizing systems based on consumer demand and regulatory requirements; and incorporating energy-efficient systems, products, methods and practices into building infrastructure.
AT&T has committed to becoming carbon neutral across our entire global operations by 2035. The company will achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions1 by scaling our renewable energy use, accelerating network optimization and energy efficiency projects, and transitioning our fleet to electric vehicles. Learn more in our Climate Strategy & Transition Plan and Climate Change & Greenhouse Gas Emissions issue brief.
Energy Management Data
|Total energy consumption (megawatt-hour [MWh])
|Total electricity use (MWh)(global direct billed and leased electricity)3
|Total electricity use (gigajoule [GJ])(global direct billed and leased electricity)3
|Energy intensity (MWh electricity/1,000 subscribers)4
|Energy intensity (MWh electricity/$ billion revenue)5
|Percent total grid electricity/total energy
|Percent grid electricity (kilowatt-hour [kWh]/total electricity [kWh used in operations])
|Percentage of renewable energy (of total energy consumed)
|Total on-site renewable energy capacity (kilowatt [kW])
|Renewable energy certificates purchased and power purchase agreements (MWh)
|Total annualized energy conserved through energy savings projects (million kWh)
|Total annualized energy cost savings from energy projects
|Total energy used in data centers (MWh)
|Percentage of renewable energy (of total energy used in data centers)
For more information, see our Global Reporting Initiative Index, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Index and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures Report.
Our Actions & Impacts
In 2022, AT&T took the following actions related to energy management:
- We worked 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 enhancement.
- We administered a national request for proposal in 2022 to procure community solar subscriptions. This resulted in executed agreements with 38 vetted community solar projects across 4 states—totaling a maximum capacity of 55 megawatts (MW)—that are projected to save AT&T $15 million over a 15-year term. These agreements will enable the production of over 191 million kWh of clean energy per year, avoiding over 135,000 metric tons (MT) of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from over 29,000 gas-powered cars.
- We implemented nearly 7,000 energy efficiency and reduction projects in 2022 that will drive annual energy savings of 1,680 MWh and gross annualized energy cost savings of $144 million. We also performed 41 proof of concept energy trials to test new ideas for scalable energy savings efforts and programs. Two of these trial concepts have moved to broader implementation and 18 are still active in the trial phase.
We apply several oversight structures, systems, policies and procedures to manage energy within AT&T, including:
- Energy Management Team: 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.
- Network Engineering & Operations (NEO) Team: AT&T’s NEO team optimizes our network by identifying opportunities for energy-efficient designs and components that result in energy and water consumption reductions. This team also lowers energy demand through right-sizing network assets by identifying opportunities for asset decommission, including managing how we release and power down our legacy data platforms, legacy regional equipment and end-office switching equipment as we transform to a modern and more energy efficient network.
- Corporate Social Responsibility Governance Council: Information about energy use, efficiency projects and renewable energy purchases is provided to AT&T’s Corporate Social Responsibility Governance Council, comprised 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.
- Alignment with ISO 50001: Our energy management systems, strategies and framework are reflective of ISO 50001 principles, including:
- Identification of suitable targets (buildings, systems, types of actions) for energy management
- Use of data-driven decision-making
- Critical evaluation of results of decisions
- Continuous improvement of and adjustment to policies and systems to reflect advancement in energy management capabilities and best-in-class practices
- Assurance: We also obtain independent assurance of select energy figures. For our 2022 reporting, S&P Trucost Limited assured calculations of our greenhouse gas emissions and select energy inventory. The rigor of this process helps us realize continual, year-over-year improvements in accuracy. Learn more in the Independent Accountant’s Report.
AT&T works with internal and external organizations to identify better ways to source energy, including incorporating renewable energy into our portfolio. Highlights from 2022 include:
- Renewable Energy Purchases: We continue to be one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy in the United States. AT&T is currently ranked 6th on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership Top Partner Rankings and ranked 4th in Tech and Telecom.
- Renewable Energy Production: The energy production of our domestic renewable energy portfolio (both on- and off-site) is nearly 2.80 million MWh annually, with more than 4,000 MWh coming from on-site sources.2 Most of our renewable energy now comes from off-site solar and wind contracts currently in production, along with hydropower received through supply contracts. In 2022, our large-scale renewable energy projects delivered nearly 2.8 million renewable energy credits to help offset our greenhouse gas emissions.
- Community Solar Projects: In 2022, we executed agreements with 38 vetted community solar projects across 4 states—totaling a maximum capacity of 55 MW—that are projected to save AT&T $15 million over a 15-year term. These agreements will enable the production of over 191 million kWh of clean energy per year, avoiding over 135,000 MT of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from over 29,000 gas-powered cars.
AT&T is always looking for ways to embrace advanced technologies and big-data analytics in the routine management of business functions. 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 and support our energy efficiency goals and objectives.
AT&T’s Energy and Building Management Solution (EBMS) is changing how we manage our operations and 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. Our approach to energy consumption in our facilities is focused on:
- Proof of Concept Energy Trials: As part of our overall energy savings initiative, the network organization leverages internal and external resources to test ideas for scalable energy savings efforts and programs. This workflow includes 3 steps: ideation, trial and implementation. In 2022, out of more than 40 trials performed, nearly half are still active in the trial phase and 2 have moved to broader implementation.
- EBMS Expansion: In 2022, we continued integrating EBMS across our footprint, with deployment complete at more than 20 facilities. Using EBMS building data, weather data and utility interval meter data, AT&T expanded its program to optimize energy use at an additional 150 central offices in 2022. We tailored the building management system programming and ensured critical mechanical repairs were completed.
- By implementing these optimization efforts, AT&T realized an average of approximately 4.67% total building energy savings for larger facilities that required mechanical repairs. At smaller facilities where the building management system programming was optimized, AT&T realized an average of approximately 2.5% total building energy savings.2 We are continuing to expand deployment of EBMS and the central office optimization program in 2023.
- Facility Projects: We undertake thousands of energy efficiency projects in our facilities every year. These projects include modest projects, such as fixing a leaking chilled-water valve or replacing a lighting fixture with a high-efficiency model—as well as more complex initiatives, such as air-handler efficiency, controls upgrades, lighting retrofits, variable frequency drive installations and replacement of entire systems, such as chillers. We track and archive our global past, present and potential energy projects to facilitate energy reporting and analysis, project planning, energy commodity purchases and coordination of funding.
- In 2022, we implemented nearly 7,000 energy efficiency and reduction projects. These efforts will drive 1,680 MWh of annual energy savings and gross annualized energy cost savings of $144 million. These energy and cost savings represent a significant increase over previous years and were driven by large-scale renewable energy and decommissioning projects.
Between 2015 and 2022, we implemented nearly 161,000 energy efficiency projects, such as the ongoing integration of our EBMS across our footprint and decommissioning obsolete portions of our network operations—resulting in 7,053,000 MWh of annual energy savings and annualized energy cost savings of approximately $663 million.
We have opportunities to improve our energy use as we modernize our networks. Some initiatives include:
- Transformation & Decommissioning: In 2022, the AT&T network organization continued to work on several transformation and decommissioning programs designed to improve overall asset utilization and network energy efficiency by systematically decommissioning and removing obsolete and outmoded network capacity and hardware.
- Network Projects: We continue to shift control from hardware to software to make our network faster, simpler, more efficient and more scalable. Our software-defined network enables us to minimize unused capacity, unnecessary energy expense and real estate square footage.
- Video Optimizer: Our open-source video optimizer is designed to help application developers optimize how their applications are designed, driving out inefficiencies by reducing the amount of traffic carried on all networks worldwide. This reduces the amount of hardware deployed and the amount of energy consumed.
- Anomaly Detection: We are using machine learning and analytics to identify cell sites that consume high amounts of energy. We then dispatch repair teams to these sites to maintain energy efficiency.
- Network Efficiency: Since 2015, AT&T’s energy intensity has declined approximately 83% per petabyte of network traffic carried. This is a result of the initiatives mentioned above, increased procurement of renewable energy and AT&T’s focus on continuous efficiency improvement.
For more information, see our Network Quality & Reliability issue brief.
Energy Management Platform
Making energy data accessible and clear to energy managers across the company is essential to success. Our energy management platform is applied as follows:
- Data Centralization & Oversight: 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.
- Analysis & Optimization: The energy team uses the data from our centralized platform 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.
In 2022, we worked 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 enhancement.
Our energy scorecard is central to our energy management program. It provides visibility for facility energy consumption and project activity through:
- Scores: 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.
- Awareness: 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.
Our Path Forward
We continue working to transition to a more energy efficient network. Our approach is constantly evolving as we explore new strategies to manage the energy we use more efficiently and incorporate renewable energy into our portfolio. This includes:
- 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 electrical load to our network by removing obsolete assets and reducing capacity commensurate with the customer demand for services through a given technology or platform.
- Optimization: Incorporating energy-efficient network equipment, products, methods and practices into building and network infrastructure and monitoring the holistic operation and energy performance of buildings and network systems to identify and address energy-impacting maintenance deficiencies and opportunities.
- Scope 1 emissions include direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the company (such as the fleet). Scope 2 emissions include indirect emissions that result from the generation of purchased energy. Note that data is rounded.
- Data (2018–2022) is rounded and inclusive of all AT&T operations (U.S. and international). Starting in 2022, data does not include DIRECTV, Vrio, Xandr or 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 of Xandr Inc. to Microsoft.
- Electricity is a subset of total energy. Electrical energy represents approximately 82.7% of total AT&T energy consumption globally. Other forms of energy include steam, chilled water and all types of fuel use.
- 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 2022 Form 10-K is the denominator and is a proxy for our production.
- 2020 and 2021 financial data is restated to align with adjustments in our Form 10-K.
Last Updated: 10/10/2023
Related Priority Topics
- Climate Change Governance
- Climate Change Strategy
- GHG Emissions Inventory
- EHS Policies
- Assessments & Inspections
- Occupational Health & Safety
- Network Investment & Resilience
- Business Continuity
- Technology Innovation
- Product Sustainability
- Packaging & Paper
- Refurbishment & Recycling
- Solid Waste
- Hazardous Waste
- Asset Recovery & Sustainability
- Water Footprint
- Water Conservation Efforts