Dial "E" For Energy Savings


Trying to gain a handle on energy costs at the nation's largest telecommunications company, with some 260,000 employees and 15,000 buildings, is a significant challenge. But simply calling-in results was never an option for Verizon. Verizon chartered a 10-person, dedicated energy team to provide a central focus on Verizon's (then Bell Atlantic) energy usage and reduction, including research, development and implementation of alternative, "green" energy sources. After the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE in 2000, creating Verizon, the energy program's scope expanded nationwide.

Verizon believes that saving energy is a non-partisan issue - it's the "right" thing to do, and its commitment to energy savings is clear. Verizon is dedicated to minimizing the impact of its operations on the environment and to incorporating proactive environmental initiatives into its daily business.

One of the most important parts of Verizon's energy conservation program is communicating with employees about ways each of them can help control and reduce energy use. With the help of the workforce, Verizon can uncover more ways to better use its precious energy resources.

The Projects

Verizon started by looking at the fundamentals of energy savings - every light turned off when not in use is energy saved. They quickly multiplied this by 260,000 and discovered some astounding opportunities for savings. For example, it does NOT take more energy to restart computers or lights than to leave them on. Turning off the CPU of a typical personal computer when it isn't being used can save approximately $50.00 per year. With more than 100,000 personal computers in use at Verizon, that computes to a $5 million per year savings. Add to that another little-known but widely ignored fact: when you load a screensaver on a computer that has Energy StarĀ® features, the screen saver prohibits the computer from going into "sleep mode." This could cost an additional $50.00 per year for every "offending" computer. It is estimated that just turning off unnecessary lights can save up to 20 percent. Turning off two 100 watt bulbs for two hours every day for a year results in an average saving of $10 annually. If 260,000 Verizon employees did the same, $2.6 million and more than 15,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions would be saved.

In 2001, Verizon's commitment to energy efficiency earned it the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) and Department of Energy's (DOE) prestigious Energy Star Award and was the only telecommunications company to earn this recognition. Verizon's efforts aimed at reducing and controlling energy costs and decreasing pollution achieved over $20 million in annual energy cost savings, or the equivalent of about 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted into the atmosphere.

Verizon Energy Team with Christie Todd Whitman
At EPA Energy Star Awards Ceremony

Under the Energy Star program, Verizon has conducted exhaustive energy audits of its largest buildings to determine where electrical energy use can be controlled or reduced. To date, 22 high-energy-use buildings have undergone the audit, and four have qualified for Energy Star ratings with more expected later this year. The company is expanding its efforts and will audit more buildings nationwide.

After an audit has identified areas for improvement, Verizon implements energy-conservation measures, including the addition of energy-efficient lighting, electrical motors and fans. In addition, the company's real estate staff has implemented 15,000 separate energy conservation projects throughout the company.

The Results

Verizon's major accomplishments in the energy field over the last two years include:

New Technology

  • Fuel Cell Technology: Developed short and long term strategy to use and study different types of fuel cells in small, medium and large locations
    • Planning a three-megawatt phosphoric acid hybrid fuel cell project at a New York-area switching center.
    • Nuvera partnership for installing small PEM fuel cell (5KW) to power telephone equipment room targeting future CEV/PCH installations
    • Rome, N.Y. central office - Molten Carbonate technology
  • Central Office of the Future: Worked with the State University of New York at Buffalo in a strategic partnership to develop the future state of our network energy use including DC- to-DC power, fuel cell technology, Energy Management systems, etc.
  • Other: ergolights, microturbine generators, generator emission upgrades, ground source heat pumps, bi-fueling.
  • Exclusive partnership with the EPA to establish a benchmarking tool for data centers and telecommunications equipment buildings.

Data /Financial Management

  • Uniquely sophisticated energy data management system. According to the EPA, Verizon is the only telecommunications company they know of that has accurate energy data
  • Conducted professional energy audits of over:
    • 535 buildings for energy efficiency by using data, building type and size
    • Developed detailed forecasting model for energy use and cost including upward pressures from equipment growth
  • Installing load profile meters in 100 locations


  • $10 million estimated savings from communication inspired conservation.
  • Introduced Energy mascots to reinforce a company-wide communication campaign.

  • Published electronic newsletter and quarterly paper.
  • Won the Association of Energy Engineers Award for 2001.
  • Won Verizon's John S. Balaguer Environmental Award for 2000.
  • Billboard Displays: Large (6' x 6') semi-permanent, "updateable" displays
    are installed at 47 of Verizon's highly populated buildings, containing information on power plant pollution, tips on reducing energy use and the Energy newsletter, the "SAVE".

  • Enhanced employee awareness through a series of articles in Verizon's employee newsletter, as well as monthly broadcast e-mails to all employees about energy.
  • Created 46 Earth Day 2000 displays with seed pack give-a-ways.
  • Displayed some 15,000 energy posters in more than 10,000 locations.
  • Working with the EPA on an internal and external Energy Star communication campaign.
  • Created and managed the "Energy Champions" program in which Verizon employees from all departments across the country volunteer to "champion" energy reduction at their location. So far there are more than 165 volunteers.


  • Strategic Alliance Council: Membership is comprised of design professionals, construction managers and Verizon Real Estate Construction personnel. Participated to ensure that all new construction follows energy conservation guidelines, such as T-5 lighting fixtures recommended for new construction.
  • Switchroom cooling guideline completed including discussion of displacement ventilation cooling.

Energy Board of Directors

  • Quarterly meetings of an interdepartmental team comprised of Directors representing major Vice Presidents responsible for high-energy use in Verizon. The Board creates strategic plans for energy including conservation, new technologies, interdepartmental roadblocks and new ways to reduce energy use.


  • Issued building temperature standards and performed building audits to ensure that standards were implemented.
  • Professional Energy Audits: Collected data and evaluated over 535 of the bottom-performing energy use buildings. Along with Verizon Real Estate operations personnel, identified and implemented more than 15,000 energy conservation measures resulting in an estimated annual savings of approximately $20 million
  • The Enterprise Solution: Developed a comprehensive plan for monitoring and controlling all systems within Verizon facilities. This includes integration of security, network, power and building systems. Verizon currently has more than 3,400 different energy management systems. The plan will integrate all these systems on a common, web-based, platform.
  • Energy Star Program: Benchmarked a projectable sample of locations under the Energy Star benchmarking tool. Two buildings have received the prestigious Energy Star certification. Fewer than 235 buildings nationwide are Energy Star certified.
  • Removed more than 200,000 lights and changed more than 100,000 light fixtures to energy efficient lighting and gained approval to retrofit frame and switch lighting to energy efficient lights.
  • Worked with electric utilities to receive more than $4 million in rebates.

Lessons Learned

When you're managing 15,000 energy conservation measures, professional energy audits should always provide payback and savings estimates by project. Verizon's energy projects have an average payback of 3.7 years.

Whether its turning off computers, printers and other office equipment that are not in use, deactivating screen savers on Energy Star models, or turning off lights when leaving a room, big payback results can be achieved through the smallest of individual efforts. Positive communication is the key to creating awareness and motivating behavior. Energy communications programs in general have been known to save at least two percent of a company's energy bill.

Accurate tracking of energy growth due to equipment growth is a continual effort. It is imperative that the impact of new equipment be factored into the overall energy conservation program and goals.

Environmental Commitment

Verizon is committed to protecting the environment by complying with all environmental laws and regulations, and operating in a manner that minimizes its negative impact on the environment. Verizon's environmental policies state that Verizon, '... will follow sound environmental practices that demonstrate environmental protection, conserve natural resources and protect our employees' health and safety.' The policy also states that "it is the responsibility and duty of every employee to comply with all applicable environmental laws. Employees are required to have a basic understanding of their environmental responsibilities and those of the Company.' Establishing a nationwide energy program with a primary focus on energy conservation directly supports Verizon's commitment to the environment.

Company Profile

Verizon Communications, (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of high-growth communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 112 million access line equivalents and more than 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the world's largest provider of print and on-line directory information. A Fortune 10 company with more than 261,000 employees and $65 billion in 2000 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 44 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.


Betty L. Anderson