Earth Hour and the Role Technology Plays in Energy Efficiency

| Josh Henretig

clip_image002The hour is upon us…Earth Hour, that is. This Saturday, March 23 at 8:30PM local time, households, businesses and landmarks around the world will turn off non-essential lights and electrical appliances for Earth Hour: a global movement sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, held every year to raise awareness about the need for greater energy efficiency and sustainability.

In 2011 the United States consumed over 97 Quadrillion (that’s 97 plus 15 zeros) Btu of energy. To give you anidea of what that means: an average computer monitor uses 921 Btu and your average refrigerator uses 2,672 Btu every hour. Nearly 87 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions (the primary driver of climate change) come from energy production and consumption, so energy efficient technology is more important today than ever before. Earth Hour is an important reminder that we should strive to reduce our energy use every day. Technology can increase energy efficiency, and at Microsoft we see information technology (IT) as a key tool that can help reduce energy consumption and address energy and environmental challenges around the world.

Today, Microsoft is working on Greener IT, because we know that there are always opportunities to improve IT resource efficiency. From operating systems to hardware, we’re providing products designed to help businesses meet their efficiency goals. Adopting cloud technology enables organizations to reduce their energy use and carbon footprint by at least 30 percent per user, so Microsoft is working to accelerate the adoption of cloud computing and data management technologies in cities and businesses around the world to enable energy efficient IT solutions. And there are technologies we can all use to reduce energy consumption in daily lives, such as energy efficient lighting, windows and programmable thermostats.

So please join Earth Hour this weekend and while you’re un-plugged think about some of the ways you can use technology to increase your energy efficiency. Share your thoughts on Twitter (@Microsoft_Green) about how you plan to recognize Earth Hour, or leave us a comment below.

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