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We’re just under a week away from Earth Day! This is a great time to reflect on the challenges we face and the advancements we’ve made. Today, Microsoft released a whitepaper describing the progress made with our carbon fee since its inception in the hope to inspire other organizations to take similar action.
As part of Microsoft’s commitment to carbon neutrality, we have selected a carbon offset portfolio which enables us to not only reduce our direct carbon emissions, but also delivers a range of benefits from biodiversity protection, to health and wellbeing improvements for families, to food security and job creation. In this blog we consider how forest protection and reforestation projects in our portfolio are working with local communities to deliver impact.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Microsoft on its list of the largest green power users; and has ranked the companyat number two of the top 100 users in the nation.
As the EPA reports, Microsoft currently purchases nearly 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually for its U.S. operations, which is enough green power to match 100 percent of Microsoft’s U.S. electricity use. Our annual purchase of green power is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of nearly 236,000 average American homes annually. In addition to ranking second on the National Top 100 list, Microsoft also ranks second on both the Fortune 500® list and the Top 30 Tech & Telecom list.
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.