Microsoft has built a new centre at its Redmond headquarters that it claims will cut the company's carbon footprint by 12,000 metric tonnes per year.
The Redmond Ridge 1 centre will combine Microsoft's research laboratory servers from individual product groups with the corporate systems that process other data. The facility is due online in April 2010, and will provide major power efficiencies, according to the firm.
"The opening of Redmond Ridge is a big milestone and represents a real transition point in the company's culture," said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft.
"This facility is a great example of how technology can help improve the energy efficiency of a company's operations."
The building has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, using air heat exchangers to keep the temperature down. Air conditioning kicks in only if the temperature rises above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The move is causing something of a cultural shift at Microsoft, however. Engineers developing new code are physically removed from the servers testing it for the first time.
"It was a challenge to get people to make the shift that the machines could be physically remote," said Bill Laing, corporate vice president of the Windows Server and Solutions Division.
"To me, the move substantially changed the way we thought about the products. It was also just good environmental practice. When we initially talked about this facility, we didn't care if it was five miles away or 500. We thought it was the right direction to go in."
Microsoft will not say how much of its computing it intends to centralise, but has the stated aim of cutting its carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2012.
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