A Business Perspective

Owners and managers of semiconductor fabrication facilities can dramatically reduce their operating costs, thereby increasing their profits, through implementation of energy- and resource-efficiency policies. Energy efficiency is the practice of using less energy to deliver the same goods and services without increasing production time or diminishing product quality.

Energy efficiency is wise business practice in any industry, but it can be an especially fruitful venture in cleanrooms, the manufacturing heart of the semiconductor industry. Cleanrooms are inherently energy- and resource-intensive facilities, as demonstrated by the typical operating cost breakdown in Figure 1 (Robertson et al. 1997).

Energy efficiency provides key business advantages:

  • Higher-quality products can be produced more rapidly in energy-efficient cleanrooms because contaminant migration and related downtime and maintenance are reduced. These production improvements lower production and maintenance costs, increase serviceability and safety, and result in higher business profits.
  • Costs offset by energy-efficiency measures can instead be invested in other business activities, strengthening a firm's economic position and increasing profits.
  • Firms with efficient fabrication facilities have greater resilience during market fluctuations and are more competitive.
  • Efficient fabrication facilities comply more easily with environmental regulations, such as resource consumption and pollutant emissions limits, than do conventional facilities, easing management concerns about this aspect of operation. Siting of energy-efficient facilities is also easier.
  • Energy-efficient designs allow cleanroom construction and operation schedules to proceed unimpeded.
  • Demonstrated business sensitivity to energy, resource, and environmental concerns enhances community relations.
The most important energy and cost savings opportunities for owners and managers of semiconductor fabrication facilities are:
  • Fewer, smaller, more efficient HVAC system components have lower first and operating (energy consumption) costs. Optimized airflow design alone can reduce energy usage and costs in a typical fabrication facility by as much as 15% (EPA 1997).
  • Efficient lighting systems also contribute to energy and cost savings.
For more information on energy and cost savings opportunities in cleanrooms, contact:

Resource-Efficient Cleanrooms Project
Applications Team
Environmental Energy Technologies Division
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
MS 90-4000
Berkeley, CA 94720
Fax: (510) 486-4089
E-mail: Cleanrooms@LBL.gov

References and Related Information

Busch, J. 1998. Cleanroom of the Future: An Assessment of HVAC Energy Savings Potential in a Semiconductor Industry Facility. Draft LBNL-41356. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

EPA. 1997. Proceedings of the Semiconductor Energy Efficiency Opportunities Workshop. San Jose, CA, November 13-14. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA. 1998. Energy Use in the Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry. Draft. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Nadel, S., M. Shepard, S. Greenberg, G. Katz, and A. de Almeida. 1992. Energy-Efficient Motor Systems: A Handbook on Technology, Program, and Policy Opportunities. Revised Ed. Washington, DC: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

NWPPC. 1995. Meeting Report for the Micro-Electronics Facility Efficiency Workshop. Portland, OR, October 20. Portland, OR: Northwest Power Planning Council.

Robertson, C., J. Stein, K. Vischer, J. Harris, M. Cherniack, M. Kendall, and C. Collette. 1997. Opportunities for Energy Efficiency in the Northwest Microelectronics Industry. Portland, OR: Northwest Power Planning Council.

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This page last updated 26 April 02