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From recycling on our Las Colinas Campus in Texas and fighting wildfires in Greece, to supporting green building in Italy and reducing our carbon footprintin Puerto Rico, we’re proud of the work Microsoft does to reduce the impact of its operations and products and drive responsible environmental leadership around the world. And we’re excited to add the achievements of another Microsoft team to this list.
In Japan we were recently recognized by the MM Research Institute for our commitment to green IT through our Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) Program. Over the past three years our MAR program has led to a significant increase of refurbished PC sales in Japan. Our MAR Program not only diverts e-waste from landfills, but it also increases access to information by providing affordable technology solutions around the country.
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.
Cities were center stage at the recent UN Summit on Climate Change held in New York City. And while historically cities have been less involved at the UN level than country governments on the topic of climate change, the shift in conversation reinforced our belief that addressing climate change cannot happen without addressing our urbanizing world.
As the planet’s population races toward 9 billion by 2050, the only way to meet growing energy needs will be to use energy more efficiently. The good news is that advances in IT are making the prospect of a less energy-intensive future a little brighter, whether it’s using IT solutions and a slick interface to help German consumers get the most from their home’s solar panels or continuing to modernize the electric grid. Read on to learn how a German startup and major U.S. states are relying on innovation—technological and political—to lead the way toward a more energy efficient tomorrow.