SUSTAINABLE DINING AT STUDIO 9C AND RALPH'S CAFE
Sustainability is a top priority at NBCUniversal’s Studio 9C cafeteria in New York City and Ralph’s Cafe, located in Comcast’s Philadelphia headquarters. Both dining facilities serve seasonal and local produce sourced from within a 150-mile radius, along with cage-free eggs and hormone-free beef. They also follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainable guidelines, serving only fresh fish, not frozen.
Employees who dine at Studio 9C and Ralph’s Cafe use reusable dishes and silverware. And at Ralph’s Cafe, filtered water is served to reduce plastic consumption.
Both facilities were also designed with sustainability in mind. Studio 9C, rebuilt in 2012, has low-emitting recycled flooring materials, motion-activated faucets to conserve water, 67 windows to reduce the need for artificial lighting, and living wall plant landscapes that improve air quality, reduce noise, and cool the air naturally. Ralph’s Cafe uses motion-activated lighting in its refrigeration units and LED lights in other equipment to help consume less energy.
At the end of 2012, 6 million Comcast customers — 27% of our customer base — had enrolled in Ecobill®, our paperless billing program. This represents more than $35 million in annual savings for the company and reduces paper waste in homes and businesses across the country.
RETROFITTED NBCUNIVERSAL BUILDINGS
NBCUniversal renovated its New York facilities with a focus on energy efficiency, including approximately 400,000 square feet of real estate at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and 1221 Avenue of the Americas. We replaced draft-prone glass with double-insulated windows; installed more efficient heating, ventilation, and cooling systems; and upgraded perimeter radiators. We also made several energy-saving improvements to lighting. New occupancy sensors and dimmable lights prevent unnecessary energy use, and daylight harvesting systems help make the most of natural light.
VIRTUALIZED DATA CENTERS
Even as Comcast and NBCUniversal continue to grow, we’ve managed to reduce both our data center space needs and energy requirements. Requests handled by our data centers using server virtualization technology — which requires less electricity and fewer physical server deployments to resolve issues — increased from 36% in 2011 to 56% in 2012. As our growth continues, we’re committed to making energy efficiency a priority when we open a new data center or expand one of our 12 existing facilities.
NBCUniversal "virtualized" 60% of the physical servers at its data center and shut down 2,000 physical machines. The refurbishing project involved creating cold containment aisles to reduce the amount of energy needed for cooling, and installing a fiber topology to replace 300,000 feet of copper cable. The new center also features power-metering sensors to monitor energy use. As a result of this effort, we retired and recycled 47 tons of hardware and cut power consumption by 11%.
ENERGY STAR® SET-TOP BOXES
At Comcast, we’re teaming up with manufacturers and suppliers to create smarter set-top cable boxes that conserve energy. Today, many of the set-top cable boxes in our customers’ homes — and all of the more than 20 million digital transport adapters we’ve activated in the past three years — meet the U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR® efficiency standards. By the end of 2013, 98% of our new set-top boxes will meet or exceed ENERGY STAR Version 3 standards.
We’re also finding new ways to build energy efficiency into our products. For example, we’re working with silicon chip manufacturers to build in energy-saving features atop their "system on a chip" technology, which consolidates key functions on a single chip, requiring less power. And we’re exploring ways to move features such as program guides and apps out of the box and into the cloud. This gives the set-top box less to do, which in turn shrinks its energy needs.
Together with CableLabs and other vendors, we designed a set-top box that can automatically shift into a Light Sleep or Deep Sleep state, using only the power it needs for the task at hand. We’ve already seen this feature cut energy use by 20% in our latest set-top box models.
FLEET AND HYBRID TRANSPORTATION
We operate the fifth largest commercial fleet in the United States overall, and the 12th largest commercial fleet of hybrid vehicles. This gives us a powerful opportunity to model efficient practices, raising the bar in our own industry and others. Our fleet features the largest percentage of alternative-fuel-capable vehicles in our industry, at 21%.
Our new vehicle procurement is 80% alternative-fuel capable, and all of our vans, light-duty pickups, and passenger vehicles are either flex-fuel capable or hybrids. As we continue to purchase alternative-fuel vehicles, we’re also exploring new technologies with automobile manufacturers, including electric and natural-gas power. Our first full-size van retrofitted to run on electric power with vehicle-to-grid technology is now in use, and we plan to add a second electric vehicle in 2013.
We’re also exploring natural gas–powered vehicles, although this kind of fuel is not yet widely available on the scale our fleet requires. We’ve increased home garaging and home networking to improve productivity and decrease fuel use and vehicle emissions. As the national infrastructure for alternative fuels continues to improve, so will our efficiency, as our drivers will refuel vehicles without straying too far from their optimal routes.
REDUCED TRUCK ROLLS
Empowering our customers to easily install our products themselves creates a better experience for them and helps us conserve resources by reducing the miles that our technicians drive. Product innovations and expanded self-service options resulted in Comcast Cable trucks taking 4.5 million fewer trips in 2012.
Many Comcast customers can install or upgrade our products on their own with our self-install kits. They can also solve product or service issues online without a visit from a Comcast technician. When a home visit is necessary, additional training has helped our technicians successfully install or repair service for more customers in that first visit, eliminating the need for follow-up trips.
GPS technology helps us make smarter, more efficient choices in routing our vehicles and also reduces idling and overall maintenance costs. Through a program called Idling Gets You Nowhere, we shared tracking and reporting information with each Comcast technician, highlighting their individual idle times. Based on this information, our technicians are substantially reducing idling by shutting off their vehicles — idling almost three hours a month less than before we installed GPS.
In 2012, 8,800 vehicles were equipped with GPS technology, saving 302,520 gallons of gasoline and reducing our carbon footprint by 1,125.6 cubic tons.
VIRTUAL CUSTOMER CARE REPRESENTATIVES
Our most successful initiatives have an impact on multiple levels. For instance, nearly 1,400 of our customer care agents — about 7% of our entire care staff — work from home through our virtual customer care representative program. The program has improved satisfaction among employees and gives them flexibility to work part-time or in split shifts. And it reduces our need to build new call centers and expand existing ones. Since employees in the program don’t commute, it’s also helped reduce carbon emissions associated with our business.
RECYCLING IN OUR WAREHOUSES
Every aspect of our business offers an opportunity to refine, revise, and rethink our processes with efficiency in mind. For example, we’ve installed balers and compactors in the majority of our Comcast facilities, making it easier to bundle unused cardboard for recycling. This more efficient system has reduced waste significantly — by more than 50%.
Our vendors have replaced the Styrofoam end-caps used to secure equipment in transit to our warehouses with end caps made of 100% recyclable pulp. Other supplier improvements include bulk packaging to cut back on materials, and smaller or online manuals for set-top boxes to reduce paper use.
WELLS FARGO CENTER COMPOSTING PROGRAM
Comcast-Spectacor, our Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm, rolled out a new composting program at the Wells Fargo Center, extending our commitment to waste reduction and including fans in our efforts. The firm is partnering with Waste Management to collect and compost all of the food waste at the center, diverting it from landfills. Comcast-Spectacor is also working with Aramark to supply compostable service-ware in all concessions and premium seating areas at the center, which is home to the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey and the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball teams.
Comcast’s headquarters in downtown Philadelphia is one of the tallest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certified buildings in the United States, with energy-efficient features at every turn.
High-performance window glass blocks 60% of heat.
Strategies to maximize daylight reduce the need for lighting.
Water-saving fixtures save 3 million gallons of drinking water each year.
80% of wood products come from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certified forests.