This Week in Sustainability: Decreasing Carbon Footprints, From Buildings to Batteries

| Josh Henretig

beachThis week, The Guardian reported on new research in nanotechnology that seeks to make batteries even smaller, spurred by Tesla Motors’ plans to build a ‘giga-factory’ for lithium-ion batteries with the goal of halving battery prices by 2020. No matter what size the battery is, this technology would lead to faster charging and higher storage capacity. Ultimately, this technology is promising for society at large, from electric cars to distributed generation and from decreasing the cost of renewable energy storage to tackling wind and solar intermittency. While this is just one example of recent battery storage innovations, it is clearly becoming a focus for many, which is in turn making the production of energy and ability to receive electricity more environmentally friendly for society as a whole.

In other news, Fast Co.Exist wrote a piece looking at a former Seattle federal warehouse that was turned into a super green government building. This was made possible by the General Service Administration’s Design Excellence Program, which along with a sustainable architecture firm, morphed the 209,000-square-foot structure into what’s now a model for sustainable buildings. As the article points out, the building has an efficient lighting system which saves 40% in energy over similar buildings. But what’s most promising about this space? The building is performing as efficiently as its architects had intended, underscoring the value of making sure all green buildings are also smart buildings. That is a goal that we here at Microsoft strive to accomplish with our energy-smart buildings, which is why we’ve turned to information technology to ensure that our buildings are running as efficiently as they were designed to.

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