This Week In Sustainability – Week of July 30

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Environmental Sustainability Team

This Week In Sustainability – Week of July 30

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imageGreenBiz published an article this week on the European Union and the carbon market. The European Commission has proposed to strengthen its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the system by which the EU allocates carbon credits, by reducing surplus allowances. The recession led to a plunge in carbon prices, resulting in millions of surplus allowances on the market. The Commission’s proposals range from withholding 400 million, 900 million, or 1.2 billion allowances for the first three years of the market’s next phase. At Microsoft, where we are just beginning to understand the impacts of pricing carbon (albeit as a tiny scale in comparison to the entire EU), we are watching the carbon market with interest. Of the many things we expect to learn in the process of implementing an internal carbon fee, one will be how global economics – and highly volatile energy prices – affects our own calculations on the cost of carbon emissions.

clip_image002Meanwhile, in Environmental Leader, John Collins, segment manager at Eaton Corporation, has released the second part of his “Implementing Sustainable Data Center Practices” series. In this segment, he focuses on energy and atmosphere as well as materials and resources in regard to LEED green building certifications. Among Collins’ astute observations and guidance is his call for data center operators to utilize high-efficiency IT equipment. As he notes, “the latest servers, storage hardware and communication gear are significantly more power efficient than comparable models made as recently as a few years ago.” Software efficiency is often lost in the discussion about sustainable data centers because it’s not flashy and the gains are only visible at a large scale. But data centers are ultimately all about computing at scale, and the most efficient hardware and innovate green architecture will be undermined without software to match.

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