March 18, 2012, 7:33 AM — Software giant Microsoft is hoping to gain more insight into its carbon footprint by rolling out a cloud-based monitoring and analytics system from CarbonSystems across its offices around the world.
The company, which has 640 buildings in 112 countries, is replacing a variety of "homegrown" IT solutions and databases that it had developed to track its environmental data.
Microsoft collects data from all business stakeholders and sources - including smart meters, energy providers, suppliers, waste processors, internal business systems and paper-based documents - to report its carbon emissions, energy and water use as part of the independent Carbon Disclosure Project.
It said that the CarbonSystems Environmental Sustainability Platform (ESP) Cloud application will allow it to streamline the tracking and reporting process of the data, and give it a more in-depth and real-time picture of its environmental impact.
"We're excited about the opportunities to integrate powerful analytics that add intelligence to our existing systems, helping us to uncover even more opportunities to understand the impact of our operations and identify areas where we can improve," said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft.
With the wide range of data sources, and due to the scale of the company, Bernard said it "made sense" for Microsoft to adopt a flexible, scalable cloud-based solution like CarbonSystems.
He declined to reveal exactly how much data will be collected through the platform, but as an indication of the scale of the data, Bernard said that a recent project undertaken at Microsoft's corporate campus in Redmond, Washington to make the buildings more energy efficient resulted in more than 500 million data points being gathered and processed each day.
The CarbonSystems platform will be rolled across Microsoft's business over the next six months.
"We anticipate that we will see a fairly quick and favourable return on investment," said Bernard.