Apple is building giant solar and fuel cell facilities in North Carolina.

21 Feb 2012

Apple's Data Center in Maiden, NC

It’s not Michigan-related, but everyone has either an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, right?  Apple just released its 2012 Facilities Report and Environmental Update detailing the company’s environmental footprint, contributions, and energy savings throughout its retail stores, R&D buildings, and its data centers. The report also detailed Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina, LEED Platinum certified data center (which opened in 2009 at a cost of more than $1 billion — if you were wondering where the “Cloud” is located, this is it) as an example of the company’s “commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our facilities through energy efficient, green building design.”

In the report, Apple also revealed that surrounding the data center will be the largest end user–owned, onsite solar array in the U.S. consisting of a 100-acre, 20-megawatt facility with a “white cool-roof” for increased solar reflectivity, and will provide approximately “42 million kWh of clean, renewable energy” each year.  Apple also announced that it is building the biggest non-utility fuel cell installation in the country right next to the data center.

Kudos to Apple for the significant renewable energy projects.  These clearly do not fall into the green washing category.  However, although domestically very green, one has to wonder if Apple’s super secretive supply chain in China is following suit.  If not, I think is it safe to assume that Apple has the leverage to make it so.

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