For anyone wondering “is AT&T eco-friendly,” the company can point to a number of initiatives to demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable future.

For example, the company began measuring the greenhouse gas emissions from its U.S. operations in 2008.

The following year, AT&T added international emissions and refrigerant emissions to its measurements.

Not including the international numbers, the company saw a slight decrease in greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2009 (the last year numbers were available at the time this article was written).

The company has also taken an interest in energy management and efficiency.

In particular, AT&T began measuring its energy usage across its networks and found that in 2008 it used 654 kilowatt-hours per terabyte of data transmitted.

The following year, the company reduced that energy usage by 23 percent to 498 kwh. As of this writing, AT&T had stated that it wanted to decrease electricity consumption relative to data growth on the network by 16 percent compared to 2009.

As part of the company’s overall energy decreasing initiatives, AT&T has made several changes to cell sites in its wireless network.

In 2009, AT&T deployed a power-down software feature to 14,000 sites taking radios out of service during the maintenance window when traffic is typically low and then returning them to service when traffic increases.

That same year, the company replaced tower light controllers and incandescent bulbs at 207 tower sites.

In addition, the company installed economizers in 40 sites to take advantage of cooler outside air and reduce the need for HVAC systems. On average, this move helped reduce energy consumption by almost 20 percent.

Optimizing energy use at its data centers is one of the key initiatives for AT&T push toward eco-friendliness.

The company maintains 33 enterprise data centers and 38 Internet data centers to support internal IT operations.

The company’s strategy focuses on five areas: consolidation, optimization, application rationalization, supplier/partner integration and industry and government collaboration.

When AT&T fully realizes its strategic plan for the data centers’ energy optimization, the company hopes to achieve 96.4 million kwh in annualized energy savings. That would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 69,231 tons, an amount equal to the annual electricity use of approximately 8,402 households, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

In addition to its electricity use, AT&T has stated that it wants to reduce its fuel usage in its fleet of vehicles. The company maintains a fleet of 77,640 vehicles and 21,719 “wheeled equipment units.”

By the end of 2009, AT&T had deployed 970 alternative-fuel vehicles, including 625 compressed natural gas vehicles, 344 hybrid electric vehicles and one all-electric vehicle.

The company in 2009 committed to invest $565 million to deploy approximately 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles through 2018.

For more information on how to assess "is AT&T eco-friendly," check out the environmental section on the company's website.

Editor’s note: AT&T is a sponsor of the Mother Nature Network.

See also:

AT&T and the environment