Effective October 1, 2012, QUALCOMM Incorporated completed a corporate reorganization in which the assets of certain of its businesses and groups, as well as the stock of certain of its direct and indirect subsidiaries, were contributed to Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM Incorporated. Learn more about these changes

Energy

Building energy efficiency into our future

Using less energy makes our Company more sustainable by helping us minimize our carbon footprint and cut costs. As we strive to consume less energy, we’re also contributing to a more energy-efficient world as part of the effort to develop smart grids and other kinds of energy-savings technology.

Aiming to save kilowatts as our Company grows

We track energy consumption for all of our facilities in North America. In 2012, our North American energy use increased as a result of our Company’s continued growth.

As our business expands, we are continually looking for ways to use energy more efficiently. Among other efforts, we are striving to maximize data center efficiency. We’re constructing several of our new facilities according to LEED specifications. And we’re replacing existing computer monitors and printers with more efficient models.

In 2012, we resurfaced two rooftops totaling 105,000 square feet at our San Diego corporate headquarters using highly efficient “cool roof” technology—materials that reflect the sun’s energy and dramatically reduce both the roof’s surface temperature and the amount of heat transferred to the building below. Cool roofs help reduce energy costs by reducing the need for air conditioning. They improve comfort for building occupants, cut maintenance costs, increase the lifecycle of the roof and reduce the urban heat-island effect, which contributes to the creation of smog.

Qualcomm was awarded the “Clean Transportation Award” from SDG&E for being a leader in championing the installation of electric vehicle charging stations for use by our employees and campus visitors. We installed 17 electric vehicle charging stations at San Diego sites, in addition to the five Raleigh, NC, sites that were implemented in 2011.

Direct Energy Consumption*
Direct Energy Consumption

*2012 amount represents prior-year calendar year data for all of our North American facilities, or roughly 75 percent of our global square footage. 2011 amount represents prior-year calendar year data for all of our North American facilities, or roughly 80 percent of our global square footage during that timeframe. 2010 amount represents prior-year calendar year data for our California facilities only, which made up roughly 72 percent of our global square footage during that timeframe.

Indirect Energy Consumption*
Indirect Energy Consumption

*2012 amount represents prior-year calendar year data for all of our North American facilities, or roughly 75 percent of our global square footage. 2011 amount represents prior-year calendar year data for all of our North American facilities, or roughly 80 percent of our global square footage during that timeframe. 2010 amount represents prior-year calendar year data for our California facilities only, which made up roughly 72 percent of our global square footage during that timeframe.

At our California facilities, our energy-efficiency initiatives resulted in:
26.6 million kilowatt hours saved annually

Helping to put the “smart” in smart grids

We’re contributing to the global evolution toward more efficient energy by enabling the wireless components in smart grids—digitally enabled electrical grids that use wireless networks and information technology to distribute energy more efficiently, saving costs and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the process.

Our acquisition of Atheros Communications substantially expanded our portfolio of smart-grid-related products, including power-line technologies and low-power WiFi solutions. (Read more about Qualcomm Atheros’s smart grid solutions here.) We also have a department focused on growing our cellular chipset business in the Internet of Everything space, with initial focus on smart automotive and energy solutions.

CPS Energy of Texas showed that using Qualcomm-enabled smart grid solutions to power 140,000 homes could save 145,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually and delay the need to build a new power plant.

Source: Wireless and The Environment: A Review of Opportunities and Challenges, BSR and CTIA, October 2011.

We helped advance smart grid technologies in other ways this past year as well:

  • Mark Klerer, our senior director of technology, was vice chair of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). The SGIP is a public-private partnership that coordinates standardization activities for U.S. smart grid standards and has developed a number of plans to address reduction of the nation’s carbon footprint via the use of plug-in electric vehicles and renewable energies like wind.
  • We participated in state, federal and international government rule-making and public-comment opportunities regarding smart grids.
  • We sponsored and presented at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) annual meetings, which are key events for businesses, utilities and policymakers focused on smart grid technologies. We also conducted various webinars on the role of cellular communications in the smart grid, as shown in this video.
  • We continued our membership in the GridWise Alliance, an organization representing virtually the entire energy supply chain and aimed at making the U.S. energy grid sustainable.
  • We continued to invest in Consert, Inc., a provider of home energy management systems. Consert leverages our 3G cellular technology in solutions that enable residential energy users to better manage their power consumption through an online portal.
  • We participated in the Electricity Subgroup of the Future Transportation Fuels Study, a study of America’s energy diversification led by the National Petroleum Council and commissioned by former Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman.

We also collaborated on energy-related initiatives related to carbon emissions and climate change. Read about those here.

Deploying more energy-efficient data centers

Thinking Ahead

Deploying more energy-efficient data centers

Data centers—buildings that house and protect large numbers of computer servers—are essential for any business that, like ours, is IT-intensive. But powering and cooling data centers also requires large amounts of energy. In our continuing efforts to manage energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as our Company grows, we are utilizing creative solutions as we deploy new data centers at our San Diego, California, headquarters.

In 2010, we deployed our first HP Performance Optimized Data Center, or POD. Housed in a shipping container, the POD’s design dramatically reduces the amount of real estate and power needed to operate a large number of computing systems; it contains more than 1,000 servers in just 320 square feet. A traditional data center would require more than 5,000 square feet to support the same power and heat load. The performance results of our first POD were so impressive that we commissioned a second, even more efficient POD in October 2012. The new POD is expected to save 1 million kilowatt hours and $130,000 annually.

In 2013, we plan to deploy a prefabricated modular data center, or MOD. Produced at a factory and assembled on our campus, MODs are more cost-effective than traditional brick-and-mortar data centers, in part because they reduce deployment time. Like PODs, they enable us to house more servers in a smaller space.

We have further increased energy efficiency by pairing several of our data centers with our natural gas-powered co-generation plants. The turbines in our co-generation plants run around the clock every day—a perfect match for our data centers’ requirement for reliable, 24/7 power. Also, we capture the heat produced as a by-product of power generation and convert its energy to cool our data centers, reducing the burden on the electric chillers and avoiding additional electricity usage. Finally, by placing our data centers as close as possible to our co-generation plant, we enable more efficient energy transfer. We expect that pairing a MOD with a co-generation plant at just one of our San Diego facilities will allow us to avoid consuming more than 4 million kilowatt hours annually. We will also avoid 66 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional data center use.

In sum, deploying PODs and MODs along with our co-generation plants enables us to use about 30 percent less energy to cool our servers, lowering our Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) to 1.18—a level below federal targets for data center efficiency.

Because there are limits to the returns that can be gained by minimizing data centers, we will continue to look beyond PODs and MODs to other solutions for maximizing computing capacity per watt of energy. Among them is Platform as a Service (PaaS) for cloud provisioning, which employs infrastructure-virtualization and application orchestration technology to support more computing with fewer hardware resources.