Benchmarking Tool Aims to Help Semiconductor Facilities Improve Energy Efficiency

Nov. 19, 2009
'FABS21' users can filter peer facilities' data set based on climate zone, facility type and cleanliness level.

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in cooperation with the International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI), are releasing for beta testing a computer-based tool to help the world's semiconductor manufacturing facilities ("fabs") evaluate and improve their energy efficiency.

The tool -- called "FABS21" -- draws on previous research at Berkeley Lab into benchmarking for high-technology facilities such as laboratories, data centers and clean rooms, according to the lab. It also makes use of the survey methods and data collected through the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Berkeley Lab researchers collaborated with ISMI's Green Fab working group to validate the benchmarking methodology.

"Resource efficiency is not just an environmental initiative -- it is also an important business process that can reduce costs for fabs," said James Beasley, ESH technology manager for ISMI, the global consortium of the world's major semiconductor manufacturers, which is sponsoring the tool's development. "ISMI is pleased to be partnering with Berkley Lab on this project. Finding ways to conserve resources is vital to the long-term growth of the semiconductor industry, and tools such as the FABS21 benchmark database help ISMI and the industry address the challenges of sustainable manufacturing."

Tool Provides up to 46 Benchmarking Metrics

Benchmarking is the process of comparing a building's or facility's energy and water use to those of peer facilities. With FABS21, users can benchmark their facilities using up to 46 different building- and system-level metrics, which fall into two categories. They can benchmark the overall facility energy and water efficiency, for example, as kilowatt-hour/square centimeter of wafer output, and gallons per square foot of manufacturing space.

The metrics will help facility operators who are applying for certification in the LEED-EBOM (Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance) rating system, according to the Berkeley Lab.

FABS21 also gives users system-level metrics, which are used for "action-oriented benchmarking." With this information, users can identify potential actions to improve specific system areas such as ventilation airflow efficiency (watts/cubic feet per minute), and chiller plant efficiency (kilowatt/ton). The tool has metrics for environmental conditions, ventilation, cooling and heating, process equipment, and lighting and electrical systems, according to the Berkeley Lab.

Users can benchmark a facility across a set of years, as well as compare to a group of similar facilities. They can filter the peer facilities data set based on climate zone, facility type and cleanliness level.

FABS21 is being beta-tested by members of ISMI and is expected to go into full release this month, according to the Berkeley Lab.

About the Author

Josh Cable | Former Senior Editor

Former Senior Editor Josh Cable covered innovation issues -- including trends and best practices in R&D, process improvement and product development. He also reported on the best practices of the most successful companies and executives in the world of transportation manufacturing, which encompasses the aerospace, automotive, rail and shipbuilding sectors. 

Josh also led the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame, IW’s annual tribute to the most influential executives and thought leaders in U.S. manufacturing history.

Before joining IndustryWeek, Josh was the editor-in-chief of Penton Media’s Government Product News and Government Procurement. He also was an award-winning beat reporter for several small newspapers in Northeast Ohio.

Josh received his BFA in creative writing from Bowling Green University, and continued his professional development through course-work at Ohio University and Cuyahoga Community College.

A lifelong resident of the Buckeye State, Josh currently lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. When the weather cooperates, you’ll find him riding his bike to work, exercising his green thumb in the backyard or playing ultimate Frisbee.  

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