Reducing our operational footprint
We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business operations. This includes reducing our energy consumption, maintaining a comprehensive recycling program, ensuring sustainable paper procurement and use, and offering employees options to reduce emissions from commuting. We believe that by focusing on the sustainability of our daily operations, we build a strong foundation for incorporating environmental principles in our investments and insurance products.
Reducing our energy consumption serves the dual purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing expenses. Since 1998, energy consumption at our major U.S. facilities has declined by 32 percent, with further reductions planned through the ongoing installation of energy-saving light bulbs and energy management systems.
We are also increasing the efficiency of our data centers and have standardized procurement of EnergyStar computer equipment for employees. We estimate that we save approximately $7.5 million in energy costs annually as a result of initiatives already undertaken, thereby reducing our annual carbon dioxide emissions by 29,000 tons. We will continue building on these successes and are committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent from 2007 levels by 2013 at our U.S. home office properties.
In addition, we have active recycling programs in our major facilities, where we recycle on average 1,500 tons of office waste per year. While technology has revolutionized the way we conduct business, it has also raised new environmental challenges, with "e-waste" accumulating in landfills. We have implemented a program to recycle and reuse technology, including a target of 100 percent of Prudential's personal computers.
We continue to build a sustainable "green print" program. Our initial focus is on reducing the amount of paper that we use for printing and copying through innovative solutions. We seek opportunities to use paper that has recycled content, paper that is produced under sustainable forest management programs, and eco-friendly print processes such as using vegetable-based inks. The green print program will also incorporate holistic, cradle-to-cradle strategies and alternatives to traditional print such as e-delivery and print on demand, and will include reviews of the entire print supply chain, from raw material to disposal.
In addition, Prudential has been a leader in advocating for "notice and access," the Securities and Exchange Commission-approved model of delivering proxy materials online. Through this model, companies post documents online and notify shareholders of online availability of those documents. By using the notice and access model for delivery of its annual report, Prudential has substantially reduced its paper use. For example, we mailed 2 million fewer proxy packages in 2008 than in 2007.
We believe our commitment to the environment enhances our commitment to our employees. We offer flexible work schedules and telecommuting programs to support employee work-life balance and reduce the emissions and costs of employees driving to work. Prudential also has a transit check program that encourages employees to use public transportation.
Information technology plays an integral role in supporting our footprint reduction initiatives, including video conferencing, telecommuting, and virtual faxing. We will continue exploring opportunities to increase the contribution of technology operations to Prudential's environmental commitments.