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Smarter buildings are a big part of how Microsoft is reducing its environmental footprint. An article in The Atlantic Cities takes a look at Honest Buildings, a website that combines social networking, crowdsourcing and big data in order to create energy profiles of every building in the U.S. The site scrapes publicly available data about buildings (such as LEED and Energy Star ratings) and lets building tenants and owners update information about renovations and repairs. The site’s creator hopes that the network will offer building service providers the opportunity to market their business and serve as a space for owners and tenants to share information about energy efficiency. Like our own smarter buildings project, this project is a great example of innovation taking place in IT that will help lead the way in reducing buildings’ contribution to global carbon emissions, which account for about 40 percent of the total.
Another interesting story appearing this week came from Claudia Girrbach of GreenBiz, who described a discussion at the Garrison Institute’s Climate Mind and Behavior symposium about changing people’s behavior to reduce GHG emissions. The part that caught our eye was this quote: “The least energy efficient buildings with the most energy smart occupants outperformed better buildings with less savvy occupants.” Clearly there is significant upside to using IT to help change the way we think about and consume energy, but we can’t forget about the important role of behavior change in maximizing efficiency opportunities. At Microsoft, we’re enlisting the help of our employees to do just that. The Sustainability Champions program empowers employees to play an active role in reducing building energy consumption.