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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Releases Sustainability Calculator, Helps Enterprises Analyze Carbon Emissions

Microsoft Releases Sustainability Calculator, Helps Enterprises Analyze Carbon Emissions

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In a recent blog post, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator, which is a Power BI application that allows Azure customers to measure carbon emissions associated with their Azure consumption. The goal of this tool is to provide people who are responsible for measuring their carbon impact of their cloud workloads with insights into how they can reduce their carbon footprint. The tool will also provide an Azure to on-premises carbon comparison and identify cost saving opportunities.

Microsoft recently made commitments to reduce their carbon footprint, but felt that an even greater impact could be achieved by extending opportunities to customers and partners. Noelle Walsh, corporate vice-president, cloud operations + innovation, explains:

For more than a decade, Microsoft has been investing to reduce environmental impact while supporting the digital transformation of organizations around the world through cloud services. We strive to be transparent with our commitments, evidenced by our announcement that Microsoft’s cloud datacenters will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2025. The commitments and investments we make as a company are important steps in reducing our own environmental impact, but we recognize that the opportunity for positive change is greatest by empowering customers and partners to achieve their own sustainability goals.

The Microsoft Sustainability Calculator is based upon a research paper published in 2018 called The Carbon Benefits of Cloud Computing: a Study of the Microsoft Cloud, which has been independently verified by Apex, a leading environment verification body. The calculator captures inputs, such as energy requirements of the Azure service, the energy mix of the electric grid serving the hosting datacenter and Microsoft’s purchase of renewable energy that powers those data centers. In addition, the emissions associated with the transfer of data over the internet. The output of the calculation is an estimate of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, measured in total metric tons of carbon equivalent (MTCO2e). The calculator also considers Microsoft’s ability to efficiently operate workloads in Azure vs on-premises datacenters. For customers who already use renewable energy to power their datacenter, the calculator will account for this scenario.

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As part of the Sustainability Calculator, Microsoft also provides insights into where it sources its renewable energy from by providing a map of its energy sources and the type of renewable energy that is being used. This map also provides customers an opportunity to learn about renewable energy projects in the regions where they consume Azure services.

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The Sustainability Calculator announcement came on the same day as Microsoft announcing its commitment to become carbon negative by 2030. During this announcement, Microsoft chief executive officer, Satya Nadella, offered the following on why it is important to reduce carbon emissions:

The scientific consensus is clear, the world today is confronted with an urgent carbon crisis. Today we are making the commitment that by 2030, Microsoft will be carbon negative. Not just across our direct emissions but across our supply chain. We must take responsibility to address the carbon footprint of our own technology and company, but we will also go beyond that. By 2050, we will remove from the environment all of the carbon we have emitted directly or by electrical consumptions since our company’s founding in 1975.

Customers looking to download the Sustainability Calculator can do so from AppSource

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