Thursday, June 23, 2005

Reduce Your Energy Bills with a Chip

From CHEN principal Barbara Ewen...

As oil costs escalate to $60 a barrel and energy consumption is the number one topic in the news, it was interesting to hear at Fairchild Semiconductor’s annual financial analyst meeting yesterday in Boston how very small power semiconductors can make a huge difference in lowering energy consumption.

U.S. regulations will require that new central air-conditioners and heat pumps have to be 30% more efficient starting in 2006 – the energy saved can avoid the construction of 150 power plants by 2020. There are more than 33 million refrigerators in the U.S. that are “energy hogs.” If they were replaced by energy efficient units, we would save enough energy to light every household in Los Angeles for eight years. Typical household appliances consume roughly 20% of all energy bills. So it is obvious, while Washington grapples with issues about how the U.S. will continue to supply enough oil and alternate sources for the country’s insatiable appetite, industries such as consumer appliances, TV’s and automotive are developing better products that consume much less energy.

Fairchild designs and manufactures small power components that play a key role in all of these applications to reduce, manage, and distribute power. For example, standby power – you leave your cell phone charger on even though the cell phone isn’t plugged into it, thinking that you are not consuming power – is a huge drain on energy and very costly. Fairchild’s power switches – not much bigger than a silver dollar – meet low standby power regulations and reduce the consumption of energy. And have you ever opened your clam shell cell phone and wondered how does the voice and data get transmitted across the hinge when the phone is opened? It does thanks for Fairchild components.

Fairchild Semiconductor, incorporated in 1957, is considered the founding company of Silicon Valley – the first high tech enterprise that fueled the emergence of industry giants such as Intel and AMD. After being acquired by National Semiconductor, the company was spun out as an independent entity in 1997 and has returned to a place of leadership in power semiconductors.

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