Energy & Emissions
Electricity consumption is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with our operations. By inspiring our global sites to make reductions in energy use and increase investments in renewable energy, we aim to lower our GHG emissions intensity levels.
We’re making significant progress, from identifying our highest-emitting activities to engaging employees across our company to adopt a more energy-efficient mindset — all of which will help move us closer to achieving our GHG intensity goal.
Some of our most successful initiatives to engage employees in energy-reduction efforts have been “Energy Treasure Hunts” at selected facilities. During these events, cross-functional teams of employees identify possible day-to-day energy-efficiency improvements. The goal is to find opportunities to reduce energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions related to energy.
Intensity by 2019
Many of these opportunities are low- or no-cost improvements and relatively easy to implement, such as the installation of more efficient lighting and mechanical systems, ovens, motors, belts and drives, fans and pumps, refrigeration systems and office equipment. Treasure Hunts have been conducted at 31 Xylem sites around the world, starting with our highest resource-consuming facilities.
In 2017, we began using Eco Project Deck, a software that allows us to track all projects from Treasure Hunts, from the simple to the most complex. Through Eco Project Deck, we’ve determined that our energy Treasure Hunts have led to 128 recommended projects, 66 percent of which are underway. Through 2017, the projects are expected to avert 800 tons of CO2 emissions and save 955,000 kilowatt hours. We also estimate a reduction of 3,000 liters of liquid fuels and 2,000 cubic meters of natural gas.
One of the simplest ways to reduce our overall GHG emissions is through the purchase of renewable or “green” energy credits and renewable energy. As of year-end 2017, 57 Xylem manufacturing facilities and sales offices purchased renewable electricity – up from 23 in 2016. Combined, these sites purchased 15,024 CO2-equivalent metric tons in renewable energy, electricity and gas during 2017, a 57 percent increase over the previous year.
In addition to purchasing renewable electricity, our sales office in the Netherlands offsets its natural gas consumption through certified green natural gas credits. Through the Gold Standard Foundation’s Fairtrade Carbon Credit program, companies such as Xylem are able to invest in green energy; increase the resilience of producer groups to the negative impacts of climate change; and help provide a more sustainable future for communities through diversifying community income streams, teaching new skills and creating local employment.
We remain committed to reducing air quality emissions. We are working to move away from using paints that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and toward water-based painting systems in our operations. Where this is not possible, we are generally destroying VOCs or using materials with lower VOC content.
2017 Energy & Emissions Performance
Our energy and emissions reduction initiatives resulted in a 7.6 percent decrease in GHG emissions intensity from 2016 to 2017. This represents a nearly 18.7 percent decrease from our 2014 baseline. A significant driver of our progress over the past couple of years has been the increase in renewable energy credit purchases.
In 2017, Xylem engaged ERM-CVS, an independent certification and verification provider, to conduct assurance of the environmental metrics contained within our EHS metrics system. ERM-CVS provided an assurance statement for total direct energy use, total indirect energy use, total direct GHG emissions, total indirect GHG emissions, and total water withdrawal. Read the assurance statement from ERM-CVS.