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Microsoft Citizenship Report: Data Centers consume 50% Less Energy

Microsoft has opened new data centers that consume 50 percent less energy than those built three years ago, according to the company’s 2010 Citizenship Report. In FY2011, the software giant is working to reduce the power use effectiveness (PUE) of its new data center designs. The company’s goal is to construct data centers with an average 1.125 PUE rating (the industry average is currently 2; optimal energy use is 1) by 2012.

In May, the software company won the Uptime Institute’s Audacious Idea Award for its data center efficiency strategy.

The report covers Microsoft’s performance over FY2010 (July 2009-June 2010) with an outlook for fiscal year 2011. Here are the environmental highlights.

Microsoft has set a goal to reduce carbon emissions per unit of revenue 30 percent by 2012 compared with 2007. In calendar year 2009, Microsoft reported emissions of 1,299,356 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 employee travel). To meet its 2012 goal, Microsoft will focus on reducing emissions in four major areas: data centers, travel, buildings, and computer labs.

Microsoft set a target to reduce building energy use by 10 percent in FY2010. So far, the company has expanded its green campus in Shanghai that has projected electricity savings of up to 47 million kWh. The company also targets silver or greater LEED standards for its buildings, which typically consume 20 percent less energy than traditional buildings.

Microsoft gets about 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources and more than half from hydroelectricity at its headquarters.

In the area of IT, Microsoft increased its efforts in FY2010 to work with partners inside and outside the IT sector to promote the energy-saving potential of IT particularly through its involvement in COP15. The software company plans to establish new energy-efficiency guidelines for its own product groups and for the software industry, and to focus on developing energy-efficiency software.

As examples, Microsoft launched Windows 7, the company’s most energy efficient operating system to date, which is designed to use less energy when idle or active, as well as developed new power management tools that IT administrators can use to view, manage, and reduce energy consumption as part of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and the latest R3 beta release of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

The company also created a “power savings calculator as part of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, a free resource for customers. The calculator provides a report of potential savings from adopting energy-efficient- computing technologies. More than 215,000 customers and partners downloaded the toolkit in FY2010, according to the report.

Other launches include the Microsoft Holm, a free, cloud-based application to help consumers better understand their at-home energy use and get recommendations to save energy and money, and Microsoft Smart Energy Reference Architecture, a roadmap to help utility companies solve integration issues that are associated with smart grid development.

In FY2011, Ford will integrate Microsoft Hohm into its electric vehicle models, beginning with the Ford Focus Electric, to help drivers track their energy use.

In addition, Microsoft is working to increase recycling of its products and of all consumer electronics after use. In calendar 2009, the company funded the collection and recycling of more than 9.3 million kilograms of electronic materials — 27 percent of worldwide sales volume. The company expects to reach 28 percent by the end of 2010.

In FY2010, Microsoft headquarters (which represents about half of its total office space) diverted 63 percent of its solid waste from landfills through recycling and composting programs, up from 59 percent in FY2009.

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One thought on “Microsoft Citizenship Report: Data Centers consume 50% Less Energy

  1. We are delighted with the progress Microsoft is making to reduce their CO2/GHGe intensity per unit of revenue. Their focus on the big-hit items is excellent. And the stated progress in data center efficiency is impressive.

    We encourage them to continue to explore methods to address commuter CO2 reporting and recycling via http://www.emerson.com/edc/post/2010/10/22/Mixing-Commuting-CO2-Reporting-with-Creative-Recycling-for-Business-Sustainability.aspx

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