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As regular readers of this blog know, Microsoft’s adoption of our carbon neutrality commitment and the creation of an internal carbon fee are helping drive an increase in our purchase of renewable energy and carbon offsets. Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized us for our leadership in purchasing nearly 1.9 billion kWh of green power. In addition to our green power purchases, we seek to drive research breakthroughs that will enable us and others in our industry to increase our use of renewable energy. We and our business partners are also working with an increasing number of customers in the renewable energy space to use the power of cloud computing to help them grow their business.
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.
As tech entrepreneurs like PROSOL Invest Deutschland (profiled in this post from a few weeks ago) turn to information technology and Big Data to make renewable energy more efficient, IT is remaking water conservation too. A joint research team from universities and business are working together to develop a tool that will use data analysis and sensors to make irrigation and drainage less water intensive. And on the policy front, organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund are advocating for a common approach to water and energy policy. Read on to learn more about how technology is remaking agriculture and how advancements in energy technology can save water too.
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.
Is everything we know about renewable energy about to change? SmartPlanet and other outlets are reporting on an innovative renewable energy project led by UCLA researchers that could potentially allow your cell phone to be powered solely through solar energy. Consuming electricity is a daily occurrence in our homes, offices and cars, and we’re just starting to scratch the surface in terms of finding the most efficient ways to produce it. Also this week, a new report shows that 2012 marked an all-time high for renewable energy production in the U.S. Read on to learn more about the ways in which renewable energy can have a positive impact on sustainable practices.