Cross posted from the Software Enabled Earth blog

Today IDG’s Computerworld named Microsoft as one of the top green IT organization as part of its annual Top Green-IT Organizations feature. Of the seventy organizations that participated in the ranking, Microsoft was ranked fourth. We’re very pleased to rank among other leading organization committed to environmental sustainability and green IT practices.

Computerworld’s criteria for top green IT companies looks at how organizations are reducing energy consumption in IT equipment and how they’re using technology to conserve energy and lower carbon emissions. Other factors, such as corporate practices including recycling programs and telecommuting, are considered as well.

Microsoft has a current goal to reduce carbon emissions by 30% per unit of revenue by 2012 based on 2007 levels. Our current carbon reduction efforts are focused on three primary areas: facilities, travel and data centers. Some of our recent successes include:

  • Efficient Buildings: All new Microsoft-owned buildings are designed to Silver or greater LEED standards and consume 20% less energy than traditional buildings. Microsoft is currently in the pilot phase of a “smarter buildings” program that uses IT to better manage energy efficiency across our campus. Early results have shown that an investment of 10% of annual energy expenditure will pay itself back in less than 18 months. We’ve also launched a “Sustainability Champions” program, an initiative for Microsoft employees to rally their co-workers to adopt more sustainable work habits. The goal is to reduce energy consumption in all Puget Sound buildings by 3 to 5 percent.
  • Waste Reduction: Over the years, Microsoft has replaced polystyrene and plastic flatware with compostable products in offices throughout the Puget Sound, thereby reducing our on-campus waste by 50%. We’ve also significantly increased our diversion away from the landfill for waste. We are currently at 61% diversion in the Puget Sound and are targeting a goal of a 70% diversion rate for waste by 2012.
  • Travel: Microsoft’s private bus service—which provides employee commute service to our main campus in Redmond—has reduced Microsoft’s single occupant vehicle rate from 66% to 62% in one year and saved 3,000 metric tons in carbon emissions. We’ve also adopted a new international company car policy that requires CO2 emissions for all new Microsoft company cars to average 130 grams per kilometer, representing a significant reduction from previous averages. On our Puget Sound campus, we’ve recently added 12 electric vehicle charging stations to the campus to support employee-owned electric vehicles, as well as other company service vehicles
  • Data Center & IT Efficiency: Microsoft has emerged as a leader in data center operations. We recently opened a new “Generation 4” data center in Quincy, Washington, which is achieving a PUE (power usage effectiveness) of 1.15 to 1.20 and gets its electricity from hydropower. We are on track to achieve our goal of designing and constructing data centers that average 1.125 PUE by calendar year 2012. We’ve also stepped up efficiency efforts for PC’s/laptops that employees use. We’ve reduced energy use by 32% in PC/laptop power consumption and our internal PC standards are 100% Energy Star compliant.

In addition, our cloud computing services enable other companies to take advantage of Microsoft’s ultra-efficient data centers. In a recent study we conducted on the environmental impact of moving Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM to the cloud revealed that customers who choose to run these applications in Microsoft’s cloud versus on-premises can reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions on a per-user basis by at least 30 percent versus running those same applications on-premise. The benefits are even more impressive for smaller businesses who have the potential to realize energy and carbon savings of more than 90 percent.

We are certainly proud of the work we’ve accomplished and the progress we’re seeing at our company. We are flattered that Computerworld named Microsoft as one of the top green IT organizations, but we acknowledge our critics too. Do we have more work to do? Absolutely. We see the opportunity to improve in a variety of areas and remain committed to doing so. We plan to continue making the right investments to ensure that Microsoft remains an industry leader in green IT.