How 4 Tech Companies Are Making a Difference with Sustainability & Energy Efficiency Programs

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Courtesy of Antea Group - USA

Across the nation, companies large and small are realizing both the environmental and operational benefits of sustainability and energy efficiency programs. We’d like to take some time to recognize inspiring technology companies that are successfully using these programs to reduce their environmental impact and make the world a better place.

For these four companies, sustainability is not just another company initiative or a compliance requirement; it’s become an intricate part of their core values and strategic business model.

1. Apple

As the world’s largest technology company, Apple is working toward the goal of becoming 100% reliant on renewable energy. As a result, the tech giant was named the greenest tech company in the world last year by Greenpeace.

How They’re Making a Difference

“Apple’s aggressive pursuit of its commitment to power the iCloud with 100% renewable energy has given the company the inside track among the IT sector’s leaders in building a green Internet,” Greenpeace stated in the 2015 ClickingClean Report. “Apple has made good on its pledge by building the largest privately owned solar farms at its North Carolina data center, working with its utility in Nevada to power its upcoming data center there with solar and geothermal energy, and purchasing wind energy for its Oregon and California data centers.”

In addition, Apple has launched sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives in China where much of its manufacturing is done. Those projects include building two solar plants, increasing the use of renewable energies in its manufacturing facilities, and preserving 1 million acres of Chinese forest for sustainable harvesting.

2. Stevens Institute of Technology

This private research university in Hoboken, NJ focuses research on critical advances in cybersecurity, information assurance, biomedicine, pharmaceutical manufacturing, wireless communications, naval architecture, environmental studies and much more. In recent years, the university has become known for its innovation and commitment to sustainability in the tech industry. Last fall, the institution took home top honors at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015.

How They’re Making a Difference

The Stevens Institute of Technology earned these top honors by designing, building, and operating the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solar powered house.

Named the SU+RE House, the home operates on 90% less energy than a comparable conventional home and is fully powered by solar. In addition, the home is built to adapt to the realities of a changing climate, serving as the basis for the future of resilient coastal housing.

“This was not just a contest entry for us,” the Institute proclaimed. “We are striving to build in a world affected by a changing climate, working to educate the next generation of innovators, and do our part to help the New Jersey Shore bounce back from the damaging effects of Hurricane Sandy.”

3. Facebook

Six years ago, Facebook began to focus on energy efficiency as an area where it could make a big difference. Due to their sustainability accomplishments, the social media giant placed second on Greenpeace’s 2015 ClickingClean Report and was featured in Forbes.

How They’re Making a Difference

“We started designing our own servers and data centers,” Facebook Sustainability Director Bill Weihl told BSR.com in an interview. “We also openly share those designs, and are now collaborating with hundreds of other companies on cheaper, more efficient computing gear.”

The company also offers bonus incentives for employees to move closer to campus. In addition, the company is part of the Workplace Charging Challenge, a Department of Energy program meant to encourage adoption of electric vehicles.

4. Phononic

Located in North Carolina’s research triangle, Phononic is a manufacturer of thermoelectric devices dedicated to changing the way we heat and cool. The company is backed by environmental technology investors and was named to Cleantech Group’s 2015 Global Cleantech 100, a list that represents the most innovative and promising ideas in clean technology.

How They’re Making a Difference

'Americans consume an astounding 189 billion kWhr/year to cool our homes, primarily using compressor-based appliances requiring global warming refrigerants that can leak into the atmosphere,' Phononic CEO and Founder Tony Atti said in a press release. 'Our solid-state cooling and heating technology, used in refrigeration and climate control, is energy-efficient, eliminates toxic refrigerants, and helps to reduce the home's carbon footprint.”

In addition, Cleantech Group also awarded the company with the 2015 Industrial Innovator of the Year award, which is given to the highest-ranked company with the most impact on industrial energy efficiency.

Is your company considering ways to increase sustainability and energy efficiency efforts? Read this case study on how one organization was able to make key elements of sustainability more tangible, helping to build a better case for investment.

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