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When you look across the modern urban landscape, you can see buildings of all shapes and sizes, from iconic architectural landmarks like Seattle’s Space Needle to the mix of old and new buildings that define modern skylines. Buildings define the character of a city in their individuality, but they have one thing in common the world over--they consume a lot of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), more than 4.2 million commercial buildings waste an average 30 percent of the energy that owners and tenants pay for. And commercial buildings account for nearly 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., which means that increasing a building’s energy efficiency has benefits across society.
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.
From operations to products, Microsoft is committed to driving responsible environmental leadership around the world. Our Las Colinas Campus in Irving, Texas, recently won the 2012 North Texas Corporate Recycling Association’s Green Award, joining our Redmond campus and offices worldwide in being recognized for efforts to reduce waste.
For the past two years, the Dallas-area campus has kept more than 12,000 tons of solid waste out of the local landfill. Behind these efforts has been the introduction of campus-wide organic composting containers in break rooms and cafés.
At Microsoft, we have an opportunity to shift the needle on corporate sustainability practices at many levels due to our size. This extends beyond initiatives such as our carbon neutrality commitment, our work in IT efficiency and our efforts to create green data centers. This is even true in Microsoft’s dining facilities, which recently achieved the distinction of being near-zero waste by diverting 99 percent of food waste to recycling and compost.
While we’re primarily known as a devices and services company, our Redmond campus is similar to a medium-sized city with more than 50,000 employees. That explains why in addition to making Xbox and Windows, Microsoft is also certified by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national organization founded in 1990 to provide a convenient and cost-effective way for restaurants, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers to become more environmentally responsible.
The GRA’s certification system is based on points given for seven criteria: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable furnishings and building materials, sustainable food, energy, disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction. Microsoft is the first corporate dining program to receive the 3-star certification and is working toward four stars.