Apple aiming 100% - Now uses renewable energy for 75% of its needs

In its environmental report, Apple stated that it now uses 100% renewable energy for all data centers, making 75% renewable energy usage overall. This is a significant 40% up from its 35% in 2010. Most of this comes from the Maiden, North Carolina, data center, which hosts mostly iCloud stuffs. Designed from the ground up to be very energy efficient, and has even earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.


image: Apple

Just this year, Apple was name second greenest smartphone maker in Greenpeace’s guide to greener electronics, after achieving 70% recycling from its smartphone sales.

The ultimate goal 100% renewable energy use for all its energy needs.  But its unlikely that  clean energy will be produced on site, equivalent amount would be purchased from other clean sources and used on the grid, so the end result would be the same.

Cool details of the Maiden data center - Energy efficient design

  • A chilled water storage system - improve chiller efficiency by transferring 10,400 kWh of electricity consumption from peak to off-peak hours each day,
  • Use of “FREE” air cooling - through a waterside economizer operation during night and cool-weather hours, which, along with water storage, allows the chillers to be turned off more than 75 percent of the time,
  • Extreme precision in cooling distribution - cold air containment pods with variable-speed fans controlled to exactly match airflow-to-server requirements from moment to moment,
  • Power distributed at higher voltages - which increases efficiency by reducing power loss,
  • White cool-roof design - provide maximum solar reflectivity,
  • High-efficiency LED lighting combined with motion sensors,
  • Real-time power monitoring and analytics during operations,
  • Using recycled materias on construction processes - utilized 14 percent recycled materials, diverted 93 percent of construction waste from landfills, and sourced 41 percent of purchased materials within 500 miles of the site.

In 2012, we completed construction on the nation’s largest end user–owned, onsite solar photovoltaic array on land surrounding the data center. This 100-acre, 20-megawatt (MW) facility has an annual production capacity of 42 million kWh of clean, low-carbon, renewable energy. And we’re currently building a second 20-MW solar photovoltaic facility on nearby land that should be operational in late 2013. In addition, we’ve built an onsite 10-MW fuel cell installation that uses directed biogas and provides more than 83 million kWh of 24/7 baseload renewable energy annually — it’s the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country. All told, Apple will be producing enough onsite renewable energy — 167 million kWh — to power the equivalent of 17,600 homes for one year.* These power sources are connected to the local energy grid and not only displace other dirtier forms of electricity that otherwise would have been used, but their environmental benefits are used only by Apple and are in addition to any locally mandated renewable energy requirements. - Apple


To really see the scale of its renewable energy commitment, check out this flyover video:

source: Apple