Apple’s been on a very impressive roll and I’m not talking about it’s ever evolving line of mobile devices and computers, but rather its continuing build-out of solar farms. In 2012 they completed their Maiden North Carolin data center with its own on-site solar power facility which is the largest privately owned solar array in the U.S. Since then they’ve completed work on a facility in Prineville Oregon that utilizes “micro-hydro” and another solar facility in Reno Nevada is set to come online in 2015. In locations where they do not generate power they are sourcing it from wind and other renewables.
In truth, their conduct in regards to the environment goes far beyond their solar farms. They’ve made great efforts in recent years to address the energy consumption of their devices, the toxic chemicals in the devices, the recyclability of devices and amount of packaging for new products as well as repair shipments. Their most recent construction project, a new headquarters in Cupertino is designed to be one of the greenest buildings on the planet. Apple says this about it:
Like everything we build, our new Apple campus in Cupertino pushes the boundaries of technology — it will be the most energy‑efficient building of its kind. Powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources, the campus goes beyond showing respect for the environment to forming a partnership with it. Air flows freely between the inside and outside of the building, providing natural ventilation for 75 percent of the year. And sunlight powers one of the largest onsite corporate solar energy installations in the world.
The building itself is just part of the story. Just under 80 percent of the site will be open space, populated by more than 7000 trees — including more than 6000 newly planted shade and fruit trees. Drought-tolerant plants will be used throughout the landscape to minimize water use.
For a comprehensive overview of their efforts to date check the Apple Environmental Responsibility page. It’s refreshing and long overdue for companies to not only acknowledge human climate change but to recognize their own impact and then make significant changes to their operations. Apple is doing this.
Here’s the latest:
On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a massive new investment by the company in solar energy: an $850 million installation that will cover 1,300 acres in Monterey County, California. Apple is partnering with First Solar—the nation’s biggest utility-scale installer—on the project, which will produce enough power to supply 60,000 Californian homes, Cook said.
According to a press release from First Solar, Apple will receive 130 megawatts from the project under a 25-year deal, which the release describes as the largest such agreement ever.
Cook called it Apple’s “biggest, boldest and most ambitious” energy project to date, designed to offset the electricity needs of Apple’s new campus, the futuristic circular building designed by Norman Foster, and all of Apple’s California retail stores. “We know at Apple that climate change is real,” he said.