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As irregular weather patterns spur debate on the negative implications of climate change, consumers and companies alike are thinking critically about what can be done to slow its effects. Corporations are responding to consumers’ increased environmental awareness, and many of the solutions they’re putting in place—from more sustainable manufacturing methods to greater purchases of renewable energy—rely in one form or another on technological innovation. Read on to learn more about how consumer trends and innovation are reaching a tipping point toward more sustainable solutions.
When we talk about energy consumption most people think about the electricity used by your PC, kitchen appliances, TV or smartphone. However, the manufacturing process of these products also comes at a cost as it requires a material and energy-intensive process to create them. To make the computer or smartphone you’re using right now, a lot of raw materials, energy and water are needed. In fact, as much as two thirds of a PC’s total environmental footprint comes from the manufacturing process alone.
Everyday consumers and companies alike are faced with a myriad of choices when it comes to buying, using and disposing of PCs whether it’s for their family or hundreds of employees. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the right information to help them make the most environmentally friendly decision. Here at Microsoft we are working to change that.
In 2011, Microsoft launched its pilot program to install Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) around the Redmond Campus. The move was an effort to create an environment that welcomed increased usage of electric vehicles in the Puget Sound region. Two years later there are now a total of 11 EVSE locations on the Redmond Campus with 18 stations, and adoption has progressed consistently. In the past three months we’ve seen the greatest number of increases per month since the program began. The stations can accommodate both electric cars and scooters, so there are a variety of vehicles that utilize the service.
As regular readers of this blog know, Microsoft’s adoption of our carbon neutrality commitment and the creation of an internal carbon fee are helping drive an increase in our purchase of renewable energy and carbon offsets. Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized us for our leadership in purchasing nearly 1.9 billion kWh of green power. In addition to our green power purchases, we seek to drive research breakthroughs that will enable us and others in our industry to increase our use of renewable energy. We and our business partners are also working with an increasing number of customers in the renewable energy space to use the power of cloud computing to help them grow their business.
LEED construction has helped bring sustainability into the mainstream while shifting an entire industry toward adopting sustainable practices. But what about making existing structures more sustainable? Read on to see how the building industry is looking at everything from new financing models to technological innovation to make buildings more sustainable.