Did you know that buildings account for about one-third of the world’s carbon emissions?

Texas Instruments Inc. in the Philippines is doing something about it. Already the country’s biggest exporter — its semiconductors power all kinds of electronics — TI Philippines is big on brainpower, but small in environmental footprint.

Green buildings, gold stars

Skylights and an open-concept design reduce the need for lighting. (Courtesy of TI Philippines)

TI Philippines has embraced the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. That’s a fancy way of saying its manufacturing facilities are designed to conserve water, and energy, and to have a minimal impact on the environment.

TI Philippines Managing Director Victor Martinez is proud that his company built the Philippines’ first LEED-certified manufacturing facility. Even the construction waste was recycled or reused — a truckload of crate material was converted into working beehives by the Philippines National Apiary Project.

Even a roof can make a difference. At one TI facility, plants live on the roof! Together with reflective roofing materials, they help keep the building cool.

Thanks to steps like these, TI Philippines has reduced its energy usage nearly a quarter and water use by close to three-quarters. That’s smart. The environment gains, and the company enjoys significant long-term savings.

Environmental leadership

TI Philippines’ commitment extends beyond its buildings. Its educational and environmental action programs include tree plantings and bike-to-work days. It’s also “adopted” area waterways for cleanups and supported efforts to prevent outbreaks of mosquito-borne dengue fever.

But to really make a difference, the company knows it has to contribute to the education of environmentally conscious citizens. Working with three area universities, TI Philippines has developed course curricula to help students learn how to manage resources sustainably. And it has worked with the Philippines government on a green building code that will help the nation transition to a low-carbon economy.

The company’s efforts have won praise.

“The presence of TI in the Philippines has also significantly attracted other large foreign investors … by exemplifying the partnership between the public and private sector that balances responsible business operations and environmental protection,” said Lilia de Lima, director-general of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

Martinez puts it more plainly. He calls TI’s commitment to the environment “a demonstration of our values and commitment to make the world smarter, safer, greener, healthier and more fun.”

TI Philippines is a finalist for the 2015 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence in the Environmental Sustainability category. Started in 1999, the awards recognize American companies that are leaders in responsible business practices.