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This week, Microsoft released its tenth annual Citizenship Report that details the company’s assessment of its citizenship work over the past fiscal year. An important piece of this report includes an overview of some of the environmental commitments and work of Microsoft. This year’s report focuses on our commitment to carbon neutrality and to reducing the environmental impact of our operations.
While the physical design of a device certainly plays an important role in how it consumes power, software can also influence power consumption based on how it is programmed to use the device’s CPU, disk and memory. Windows 8 has numerous features that help make it more energy efficient, but we are also starting to see specific applications on the Windows Store that are helping people understand and measure their Windows PC’s energy use.
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.
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.