March 30, 2010

Greenpeace Challenging IT Companies To Go Green

International environmental advocacy group Greenpeace is challenging tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook to utilize renewable resources to provide energy for their data centers, according to a report released Tuesday.

Greenpeace reports that IT data centers will use nearly 2,000 billion kilowatt hours of electricity over the next decade - more than France, Germany, Canada, and Brazil combined.

Those statistics, combined with the fact that a new Oregon-based Facebook facility and a new North Carolina-based Apple warehouse will be largely coal based, has caused the organization to call for greater use of more sustainable sources for their electricity.

"Growth in the IT industry is leading to a fast growing carbon footprint," Tom Dowdall, Greenpeace greener electronics campaign coordinator, told BBC News on March 30. "We would like to see more examples of companies using purchasing power to drive an increase in renewable capacity"¦ Our ultimate goal is for them to advocate for better renewable energy policy locally."

The news wasn't all negative, however, as several technology companies have announced steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Facebook told the BBC that it will be using a special evaporative cooling system that will utilize fresh air instead of traditional-style air conditioning.

Microsoft is using a similar system in their Dublin, Ireland data center, BBC News reports, and the company has earned praise from the European Commission's Sustainability Energy Europe Campaign for their efforts. Furthermore, a Quincy, Washington Microsoft location and a Buffalo, New York Yahoo! facility both utilize 100-percent hydropower.


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