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We’re always interested in the role that IT is playing in shaping how resources get used in the agricultural sector—figuring out how to grow and produce food more efficiently and using fewer resources will become more and more important over the coming years.
One experiment in urban farming is taking place right under our own roof here at Microsoft, run by Mark Freeman and the company’s dining services team, Dining at Microsoft. By growing food onsite and vertically integrating part of our food production, Dining at Microsoft has created a unique opportunity to increase the overall quality of the customer experience, improve the quality of the produce, and decrease the company’s ecological footprint.
Nearly 70 percent of all electricity in the United States goes toward building operations—heating and cooling systems, lighting, ventilation and plug loads—and over 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the world come from buildings. Researchers in the “living lab” at Carnegie Mellon’s Intelligent Workplace are working to determine how they can use data to address some of these problems. They’re exploring how to give people who work in buildings a comfortable environment while using the least possible energy, how to make people accountable for their own energy footprints, and how technology can assist in that journey.
Today marks the beginning of the 2014 Smart City Expo World Congress, hosted in Barcelona, a city that prides itself on creating many smart city best practices.
This event has grown significantly since its inception, reflecting the growing momentum around smart cities. We’ve seen similar momentum with Microsoft CityNext, with over 220 official Microsoft CityNext partners delivering over 800 city solutions, and a growing number of stories on the impact that cities have seen. During the week-long event, Microsoft will have the opportunity to meet with our partners and the leaders from many of the cities we’ve been able to work with as they apply technology to drive transformation.
One year ago, Microsoft announced our first power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind energy in Texas. This agreement was a significant milestone in our commitment to carbon neutrality and also showcases how our internal carbon fee is shifting how we are able to build environmental sustainability into our long-term business planning. When we announced the project, construction had not yet begun on the site, so we’re excited to be able to provide an update on the Keechi Wind project.
Two years ago, we announced a partnership with a number of private and public sector partners to build the first zero-carbon datacenter, called a Data Plant—a fuel cell-powered datacenter that simplifies the power distribution infrastructure by bringing together the power plant with the datacenter to radically improve efficiency. We are excited to announce that yesterday, the new Data Plant officially opened with a “cable-cutting” ceremony at the water treatment facility that will be used to power the Data Plant.