For years, we have conducted our business with an eye toward limiting adverse impacts on the environment and the communities in which we operate. One example is our shared infrastructure model, which is inherently sustainable—allowing us to maintain a relatively low carbon footprint and establish resource efficiency. We strive to be responsible environmental stewards while managing our expansive infrastructure portfolio and every part of our organization.
Achieve carbon neutral goal in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2025.
of our 2022 electricity consumption was from renewable energy sources1
of projected 2023 annual electricity consumption is expected to be from renewable sources2
of lit towers upgraded to energy-efficient LED lights3
1 Percentage calculated using approximately 114,000 MWh of renewable energy contracted for 2022 compared with reported 2022 annual consumption of approximately 168,000 MWh.
2 Percentage calculated using approximately 144,000 MWh of renewable energy contracted for 2023 compared with projected 2023 annual consumption of approximately 168,000 MWh.
3 Percentage calculated based on 12,117 total lit towers as of December 31, 2022.
Converting our lighting systems on lit towers to LED4,5
4 Percentages calculated based on the total lit tower count as of December 31 of each year represented.
5 The number of total lit towers is subject to slight fluctuations year over year as the result of regulatory changes.
Driving results through accountability.
To reach our goal of achieving carbon neutrality in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025, we are investing in projects that benefit both our business and the environment. We have reduced our energy usage by switching to LED lighting on our lit towers and sourced around 114,000 MWh of renewable energy across 13 US states through retail agreements—reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to the global effort to combat climate change.
Renewable energy progress6
- Non-renewable energy
- Renewable energy
6 Percentage calculated using approximately 114,000 MWh of renewable energy contracted for 2022 compared with reported 2022 annual consumption of approximately 168,000 MWh.
Pitts Dudik Solar Project
We supported the development of a 50 MW solar farm, which is set to be operational in late 2023.
Priddy Wind Project
A newly built 300 MW wind farm, where we have procured renewable energy contracts that deliver clean energy to local grids.
Reducing our emissions.
To craft an informed strategy to reduce our GHG emissions, we calculated our Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions based on energy utilization across our operations, including towers, small cells and fiber, offices and warehouses, fleet and generators.
Fuel & Energy Consumption7,8
|Asset Class||Natural Gas (therms)||Electricity (kWh)||Diesel, Gasoline and Propane (MMBtu)|
|Small Cells & Fiber 10,11||65,133,975|
|Offices & Warehouses 12||362,838||29,959,989|
7 Based on an operational control approach, as defined by WRI GHG Protocol and scope guidance. Boundaries include all material operating locations.
8 Where actual consumption data was not available, we used a sampling approach or public information, such as equipment fuel efficiency and power ratings, to estimate fuel and energy consumption.
9 Electricity consumption and resulting emissions associated with HVAC systems situated in ground shelters at our tower sites are calculated based on the applicable energy consumption factors for each type of HVAC unit (e.g., central air, window unit, etc.) that was in operation in 2022 at such sites, taking into account assumptions regarding (i) customer tenancy at company-owned shelters, (ii) customer reliance (or lack thereof) on our HVAC units and (iii) HVAC system operations in unoccupied shelters.
10 Prior to 2022, our calculation of electricity consumption associated with fiber points of presence (POPs) included adjustments for power usage effectiveness (PUE), which accounted for auxiliary energy use at leased POP locations in our Scope 2 inventory. Upon further review, we determined that as the lessor, we do not have operational control over our leased POP locations because we do not have the authority to introduce and implement operating policies. As such usage falls outside of our operational boundary, prior years’ electricity consumption and the resulting emissions calculation were overstated. The 2022 Scope 2 calculations reflect auxiliary energy use only at owned POP locations where Crown Castle is assumed to have operational control.
11 Prior to 2022, the electricity consumption calculation for a limited number of iDAS venues did not include electricity supplied by the venue operator for the benefit of Crown Castle, the costs of which were not passed through to Crown Castle. For the 2022 Scope 2 calculation, we estimated Crown Castle’s electricity consumption with respect to such venues, which was based upon average tenant electricity utilization across other iDAS venues.
12 Based on actual consumption data for offices, owned and leased square footage and estimates derived from nationwide energy intensity statistics from the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Commercial Building Energy Consumption (CBEC) Survey for the remainder of the offices.
13 Based on estimated allocation between diesel and gasoline vehicles.
Greenhouse gas emissions14,15,16
- Small Cells & Fiber
- Offices & Warehouses
|Asset Class||Scope 1 (MTCO2e)||Scope 2 (MTCO2e)16|
|Small Cells & Fiber||—||7,713|
|Offices & Warehouses||1,927||3,340|
|Asset Class||Scope 1 (MTCO2e)||Scope 2 (MTCO2e)16||Scope 1 & 2 TOTAL|
|Small Cells & Fiber||—||20,616||20,616|
|Offices & Warehouses||2,361||10,549||12,910|
14 Based on an operational control approach, as defined by World Resource Institute (WRI) GHG Protocol and scope guidance. Boundaries include all material operating locations.
15 We used emission factors from 40 CFR Part 98 Tables C-1 and C-2 and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eGRID factors. Global Warming Potential documented in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR5 report was used to calculate CO2e for methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).
16 Our Scope 2 emissions were calculated using WRI GHG Protocol’s market-based method. Prior years’ Scope 2 emissions calculations were reported using WRI GHG Protocol’s location-based method. Refer to the ESG Data Tables for Scope 2 emissions calculated using the location-based method covering the years indicated therein.
We are currently finalizing a comprehensive Scope 3 inventory to enable Crown Castle to publicly report Scope 3 emissions. This foundational work will confirm the most significant drivers of our value chain emissions and areas where we may be able to impact future reductions.
We continue to believe our Scope 3 emissions are primarily driven by:
- Downstream electricity that powers our customers’ equipment on our infrastructure assets
- Capital goods, including construction, largely associated with fiber installation
- Purchased goods and services
The remainder of our Scope 3 emissions inventory is comprised of categories that are individually less material to our overall footprint, including fuel- and energy-related activities, upstream transportation and distribution, waste generated in operations, business travel and employee commuting. We are working with our customers, suppliers and employees to formulate strategies in an effort to reduce emissions across our entire value chain.
JAY BROWN PRESIDENT & CEO
While we work to accomplish our carbon neutral goal, we are taking action to improve on our strong foundation, including proactive work to reduce our energy consumption and source renewable energy.
Cutting back on consumption.
Across our business, we're taking steps to conserve water and reduce waste sent to landfills. Our water use and waste generation stem almost exclusively from our office-related operations. Our current water efficiency initiatives include selecting drought-tolerant native species for landscaping, using zoned and timed sensors to reduce water use, using reclaimed water for landscape irrigation and installing energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in connection with our new office buildouts and renovations.
Water consumed by office (gallons)17
|Houston, TX 18||905,000||2,236,000||4,362,560|
|Doral, FL 19||44,132||42,636||369,322|
|Albany, NY||Not tracked||55,000||56,000|
17 Water is reported for Crown Castle’s owned office locations. Prolonged office closures stemming from Covid-19 impacted the comparability of our water utilization from 2020 to 2022.
18 Water consumption increased in 2021 due to the opening of a new headquarters office in Houston, TX, which was larger than the previous headquarters facility. In addition to an increase in water usage driven by the 2022 return to office, water consumption also increased due to several one-time events, including the freezing and bursting of pipes and cooling tower maintenance which included drainage and refilling.
19 Water consumption increased in 2022 due to an issue with the HVAC unit that required additional water use to cool a data room during repairs.
In 2022, many of our employees returned to the office in a hybrid capacity (mix of remote and in-office work), with some employees remaining fully remote. As such, we are reporting waste generated both in Crown Castle offices and by employees while working remotely. For the first time, we are reporting the Scope 3 emissions from waste generated in our operations. Our current waste reduction initiatives across offices include using recyclable materials, digitizing operations and donating old materials to reduce lifecycle impacts.
Waste generated and recycled20
|Type||Waste generated (tons)20||Scope 3 GHG emissions from waste generated in operations (MTCO2e)21|
|Office waste landfilled||166||86|
|Office waste recycled||307||28|
|Remote work waste landfilled||943||491|
|Remote work waste recycled||472||42|
20 In 2020 and 2021, prolonged office closures stemming from Covid-19 significantly reduced our waste generation, such that the data was not representative of our typical waste-generating activities. As such, we have elected not to report waste generation data for those years. In 2022, many of our employees returned to the office in a hybrid capacity (mix of remote and in-office work), with some employees remaining fully remote, so we adjusted our calculation methodology to project waste generated and recycled both in Crown Castle offices (owned and leased) and remotely (e.g., employees working from home). This is a change from our previous approach of reporting waste generated at Crown Castle’s owned office locations.
21 We used emission factors from U.S. EPA, 2023, Emission Factors for Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Table 9 (Scope 3 Category 5: Waste Generated in Operations and Category 12: End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products). Boundaries include all material operating locations, including all US and US territories.
Battling wildfire risks.
Through our Wildfire Risk Mitigation Program, we take proactive steps to address and raise awareness of wildfire risks.
For our tower site locations that present elevated potential risks for wildfires, we take additional precautions to increase safety and minimize risk for us and the environment. Our dedicated teams monitor daily weather conditions and determine which sites require elevated safety protocols throughout the project. Additionally, we created a no-weld structural modification solution which helps mitigate risk from on-site hot work.
of contractors performing hot work on sites with an elevated wildfire risk complete a pre-construction check-in where fire prevention procedures are reviewed and observed live
Protecting ecosystems and biodiversity.
Our shared infrastructure assets are dispersed across the country on land we own, lease or that’s in the public right of way. Due to our expansive reach, we work to identify and reduce the potential impact our deployments and operations could have on local ecosystems and biodiversity.
Before deploying infrastructure, our environmental compliance team analyzes potential impacts on endangered wildlife, wilderness areas, historic preservation areas and sensitive ecosystems like wetland habitats. In the event that any of these potential impacts are identified, we engage third-party experts to suggest modifications or work with us to implement protective measures. Once deployments are complete, we actively monitor our assets and take steps to minimize risks to the surrounding habitats.
Our seasonal bird program.
Occasionally, protected bird species select our towers as nesting sites. When this happens, we deploy our environmental specialists to track and document these sites. We have procedures in place to protect identified nests, including limiting on-site access and nest relocation.
sites identified with active nests or protected species22
sites converted to bird-friendly tower lighting22
migratory bird protection courses completed22
22 As of December 31, 2022.