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Last week’s State of the Union address included a major focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and this week’s news has a number of stories showing how the private sector is making progress toward those goals. Environmental writer and strategist Andrew Winston published a case study in the Harvard Business Review on Diageo North America, a multi-billion dollar spirits company that has emerged as a leader in decreasing their carbon emissions. Greentech Media also showed that energy efficiency is more crucial to economic productivity than energy production and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a very interesting fact on new energy capacity.
As programs like FLOW-AID, profiled recently in this blog post, work on issues around agricultural water conservation, the sustainable use of water has emerged as a major point of discussion among sustainability influencers. Water is one of earth’s most precious resources, and new technology is beginning to reveal ways to help us better protect bodies of water worldwide while utilizing their value. Read on to learn more about how data modeling is assisting in protecting natural areas receiving significant use, while scientists on the other side of the world are finding new ways to harness the ocean for energy with little environmental impact.
While we’ve seen considerable advancements in renewable energy over the last decade, the challenge of renewables is how to store the energy created from the sun or wind. As TreeHugger reports, MIT researchers have developed a how to combine the production of clean energy and its storage in offshore wind turbines. Other creative uses of renewable energy can be found in EarthTechling’s article on how lightweight solar blankets can help reduce the load carried by American soldiers. Read on to learn more about renewable energy innovations.
Today more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and it’s predicted that by 2050, 76 percent of the global population will live in urban areas. This ongoing population shift has created unprecedented challenges for our cities, and leaders must meet growing citizen demands for things like efficient transportation and reliable infrastructure with limited resources. But it is vital that our city leaders meet these demands, because it is in cities that opportunities for higher education are pursued, innovations in health care are advanced and business drives economic growth. It is also in cities that 75 percent of the world’s energy is consumed.
At Microsoft, we believe that economically and environmentally sustainable cities are critical to achieving sustainability in society as a whole. Cities that are designed and operated to be energy-efficient have the potential to be one of the most effective means to this end. Today, we are excited that Microsoft has announced the global initiative CityNext, which furthers our vision for energy-smart cities.