Data centers run entirely on renewable energy

Bring out your iPhone, your iPad and you iPod and great ready to share the big news! According to Energy Manager, the makers of all things Apple have recently announced that the company’s data centers now run entirely on renewable energy.

No big deal you say? What exactly takes place an Apple data Centre you ask? These enormous centers are, in fact, the hub of the electronic sphere. They are where all the information and content from your phone or computer is delivered; from downloading your favourite songs to finding your way using Siri, the calming voice of reason, Apple data centers are where the magic happens, and they are now among some of the most energy-efficient in the world. Some centres, like that located in Maiden, North Carolina, have even earned LEED platinum green certification, taking them above and beyond the industry norm (read more about the Maiden data centre online).

Green projects on the go

Apple’s goal is to eventually power every facility with energy from renewable sources like solar, wind, hydro and geothermal. In 2012, the company managed to reduce energy use by 30% in comparison to 2011 numbers, and at present, 75% of the energy spent on corporate facilities worldwide comes from renewable sources. At its California headquarters, Apple also installed a biogas-powered fuel cell and built a rooftop solar photovoltaic system which has led to significant energy-savings during times of increased occupancy.

In addition to their energy-efficient corporate and data centers, Apple has had a number of other green projects in the works. In 2010, Apple launched greener products like the iMac, which uses 68% less material, generates 67% fewer carbon emissions than older models, and has an aluminium stand that is made up of 30% recycled content. In 2011, the company submitted an application for a patent on an invention that is able to harness wind energy, even once the wind dies down. The end-product will reduce energy costs for businesses by lessening the dependency on fossil fuels and allowing for a more constant stream derived from a reliable source.

The company also began promoting its Commute Alternatives program, encouraging staff members to find other means of getting to work, cutting down on the traffic, smog and carbon emissions associated with single-occupancy vehicles. More than 13,000 employees were said to have participated in the program last year including 1,600 based in Cupertino who arrived at work using the biodiesel commuter coaches and shuttles or who rode to work using shared bicycles provided by the company. Others took advantage of electric vehicle charging stations provided on-site, saving more than 102,500 kg of carbon emissions.

Apple under fire by Greenpeace

According to Forbes, Apple has endured scrutiny from Greenpeace in the past, due to its use of coal to power data centres. Today however, in regards to Apple and its shrinking footprint, Senior IT analyst at Greenpeace, Gary Cook says: “Apple’s announcement shows that it has made real progress in its commitment to lead the way to a clean energy future. Apple’s increased level of disclosure about its energy sources helps customers know that their iCloud will be powered by clean energy sources, not coal.” You can read more about Apple’s energy-efficient improvements here.

Questions or comments about Apple’s data centres? Leave them below!

image credit: John Gilchrist