After four years of construction, 12,000 employees start moving into Apple’s new spaceship campus in April. Now called Apple Park, the 175-acre campus near Cupertino, California will be a model for energy efficiency and 100% powered by renewable energy.
The building’s circumference hosts one of the largest on-site solar systems in the world – a massive 17 megawatts (MW) of solar panels! That will supply 75% of the electricity; the rest comes from buying half the output of a nearby 280 MW solar farm and 4 MW of on-site fuel cells. As the world’s largest naturally ventilated building, it will require No heat or air conditioning for nine months of the year. Almost all of the materials from demolishing previous buildings at the site has been reused or recycled – virtually every piece of concrete, glass, and metal.
Worldwide, 93% of Apple’s power for offices and retail comes from renewable energy, and 100% of power for data centers. The next step is manufacturing – the source of 77% of its greenhouse gases. A 170 MW solar farm in Mongolia will begin powering China’s factories and a supplier in Japan is building 20 solar plants including one of the largest floating solar systems. In tandem with suppliers, over 4 gigawatts (GW) of renewables will be added around the world by 2020, including 2 GW in China.
“We’re switching to greener materials to create safer products and manufacturing processes. We’re protecting working forests and making sure they are managed sustainably. We’re even creating a more mindful way to recycle our devices using robots,” Apple says on its Environment page.
Amazon Steps Up
Amazon.com also made a big announcement – over the next three years, it will put solar on the roofs of 50 warehouses around the world. Solar will provide as much as 80% of power at sites in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware, starting this year. The company is building the 253 MW Amazon Wind Farm Texas and a 180 MW wind farm in Ohio, adding to its wind farms in Indiana and North Carolina.
“We are putting our scale and inventive culture to work on sustainability. By diversifying our energy portfolio, we can keep business costs low and pass along further savings to customers. It’s a win-win,” says Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations.
Last year, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft filed an amicus brief in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, now under attack by the Trump Administration.