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For the second consecutive year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named Microsoft to its Green Power Partnership Top 50 List—and this year our ranking increased to second on the Top 50 List.
One of the biggest contributors to greenhouses gases in the U.S. is what you’d least expect—commercial buildings. In fact, the office you’re reading this blog post in right now may have as much of an environmental impact as your commute to work today. Commercial buildings are responsible for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases—nearly as much as the emissions from all forms of transportation. They are also one of the single greatest operating expenses for companies. Energy plays a significant part in those expenses, particularly when inefficiencies across commercial buildings waste an estimated 15 to 30 percent of the energy they use.
In October 2011, we published a whitepaper that detailed a pilot at Microsoft to make energy-smart buildings. The pilot began with a fairly small number of buildings on our Redmond campus. We took the building management system in some of our buildings and added an additional layer of IT intelligence on top of them. We found that we could reduce energy usage by 6 to 10 percent—all without needing to make a single retrofit to buildings. Today in a story on
“Smart city” has entered the lexicon in the past few years—but what is a smart city? While exact definitions may vary, the overall concept of a smart city lies within its ability to combine sustainability, technology, societal progress and economic prosperity, according to an article published this week in Business Insider. Publications often rank cities both globally and in the U.S. on their ability to adopt smart city practices. But reading about the innovations taking place city-by-city and building-by-building shows how revolutionary smart cities can be. Continue reading to learn more on global efforts to make smart cities the cities of the future.
Solar energy is taking off in Japan. In fact, last year nearly 3 GW of photovoltaics were installed across the country. The country’s tight power supply and demand situation—the vast majority of nuclear generation was taken offline following the Fukushima disaster—has made managing energy generation a very important issue. That’s one reason why the town of Nichinan in Hino-gun, Tottori Prefecture, has turned to the Windows Azure cloud service as part of the energy management system for its new solar power station.
Since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Japan has doubled down on efforts to expand the country’s renewable energy production. Before the earthquake and tsunami critically damaged the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Japan received as much as 30 percent of its energy from nuclear power and planned to expand nuclear generation to 50 percent of the country’s energy needs.
As a consumer, what do you consider before making a purchase? According to new research by Cone Communications, 71 percent of Americans take environmental impact of the product into account. This is an increase from even four years ago when only 66 percent of Americans considered the environment before making a purchase. What’s more, Good.Must.Grow, a self-proclaimed socially responsible marketing agency, released some statistics on consumer behavior this week, finding that 60 percent of respondents also prefer to buy goods from socially-responsible companies. Read on to learn more about the influence corporate social and environmental responsibility has on consumer purchasing.