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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
Last November we announced a new proof-of-concept datacenter that brought the power plant inside the datacenter by mounting fuel cells directly onto the datacenter’s server racks. Less than three months later, fuel cell datacenters have taken a major step forward to becoming a reality, following a success demonstration of the concept at the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.
Each quarter, the company gives out an Environmental Sustainability Action Award, along with a donation to an environmental charity of the winner’s choice. The award recognizes an employee or team who has shown leadership and provides an inspiring example of how Microsoft and its employees can have a positive impact and change not only on the way we run our business, but also the way our products and services can make a difference for our customers, our partners and for society.
At Microsoft our supply chain is a sustainability imperative. In 2013, we began to require our suppliers to provide reports on their adherence to the requirements listed in the Microsoft Vendor Code of Conduct in an effort to drive sustainability improvements in our supply chain. Today, our supply chain initiatives play a key role in our commitment to environmental sustainability. That is why we’re proud to announce that our Microsoft Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) Supply Chain team was recently honored with the 2013 Green Supply Chain Award in Ireland for the work it has done to further green our supply chain by reducing excessive, unnecessary packing within the OEM Distribution and Reseller (ODR) Channel.