Getting greener: New fab EHS benchmark tool debuts
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Labs have devised a tool to gauge a semiconductor facility's energy and water consumption, and compare against similar facilities, to identify areas of improvement—all toward the pursuit of a "greener" industry.
The Fabs21 beta tool draws on research examining other high-tech facilities (labs, data centers, cleanrooms), as well as survey methods/data collected by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and validated with help from ISMI's Green Fab working group. Users can compare up to 46 different building- and system-level metrics for semiconductor manufacturing facilities, distilled into characteristics of energy and water consumption—a facility's overall energy and water efficiency, for example, can be benchmarked as kWh/cm2, BTU/cm2 wafer out, and gallons/ft2 of manufacturing space. Such metrics help facility operators applying for LEED certification of existing buildings.
The tool also can calculate system-level metrics for "action-oriented benchmarking" to identify potential systems areas for improvement—e.g., ventilation airflow efficiency (W/ft3/m) or chiller plant efficiency (kW/ton).
Metrics span environmental conditions, ventilation, cooling and heating, process equipment, and lighting/electrical systems. Facilities can be benchmarked across a set of years or compared to similar facilities, and filtered by criteria such as climate zone, facility type, and cleanliness level.
After further beta-testing by ISMI members, Fabs21 was planned for full release in November 2009. — J.M.