AT&T recently put its scheduled vehicle washing program on hiatus for the more than 15,000 fleet vehicles located in California until the drought declaration is lifted. Photo courtesy of AT&T.

AT&T recently put its scheduled vehicle washing program on hiatus for the more than 15,000 fleet vehicles located in California until the drought declaration is lifted. Photo courtesy of AT&T.

In an effort to take the company’s green efforts in a new, but related, direction, AT&T recently reduced its non-essential water usage in California to show support for Governor Jerry Brown’s call to action during the state’s current drought. As a first step, the telecommunications company halted the scheduled vehicle washing for the more than 15,000 AT&T fleet vehicles located in California until the drought declaration is lifted.

“Conservation efforts are not limited to our fleet,” said Jerome Webber, vice president global fleet operations at AT&T. “AT&T’s 34,000 California employees were asked to reduce their company water usage by 30 percent which includes actions such as reducing facility landscape irrigation by half, turning off decorative water features or fountains at corporate buildings, and remaining vigilant in identifying water waste.”

Nationally, the company has a long history promoting water conservation. AT&T recently completed a year-long collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund to identify water savings across the company’s operations. This project resulted in the Building Water Efficiency toolkit (WaterMAPP), which U.S. commercial buildings can use to collectively save up to 28 billion gallons of water annually, equivalent to the amount of water that more than 765,000 Americans use at home in a given year.

“The Building Water Efficiency toolkit gives organizations simple, cost-effective resources to build their own water efficiency programs and includes both technical and management tools to design, implement and document water savings,” Webber said. “Water scarcity is more than an environmental concern; it’s a business concern as well. Water is crucial to our business operations — from cooling our buildings, to faucets and fixtures and outside irrigation.”

Conserving Fuel

Finding cleaner, more efficient methods of powering its fleet vehicles is another important mission for AT&T, as the company understands its effect on the country’s economy, security, and environment.

“As of year-end 2013, we had 8,230 alternative-fuel vehicles in our fleet,” Webber said. “They’re part of our plan to deploy more than 15,000 alternative fuel vehicles through 2018.”

AT&T’s deployment of alternative-fuel vehicles has saved the company from purchasing 7.7 million gallons of gasoline in the first four years of the program. The company has pledged to invest more than $500 million as part of its green strategy, which includes more than $350 million to purchase approximately 8,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Currently, there are more than 2,600 in California alone.

This past October, AT&T celebrated a milestone by completing the purchase of its 7,500th alternative-fuel vehicle, a 2013 CNG Chevrolet Express van, which was delivered to a U-verse technician in Lenexa, Kan. The company’s alt-fuel fleet also includes close to 2,000 hybrids, more than 25 extended-range electric vehicles, and three all-electric vehicles. The vehicles are dispersed throughout 44 states nationwide.

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