Apple and the Environment

Powering our facilities with clean, renewable energy.

We’ve dramatically reduced the environmental impact of our corporate facilities and the data centres that provide online services to our customers. And we continue to invest in ways to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy and lessen our carbon footprint even more.

Our progress toward 100 per cent renewable energy.

Our goal is to power every facility at Apple entirely with energy from renewable sources — solar, wind, hydro and geothermal. So we’re investing in our own onsite energy production, establishing relationships with suppliers to procure renewable energy off the grid, and reducing our energy needs even as our employee base grows.

Our investments are paying off. We’ve already achieved 100 per cent renewable energy at all of our data centres, at our facilities in Austin and Elk Grove in the US; Cork in Ireland and Munich in Germany; and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California. And for all of Apple’s corporate facilities worldwide, we’re at 75 per cent, and we expect that number to grow as the amount of renewable energy available to us increases. We won’t stop working until we achieve 100 per cent throughout Apple.

Digital downloads and environmental responsibility.

Apple data centres deliver a wide range of information and content to your devices — from music and apps to iMessages. When you buy a song from iTunes, download a book from the iBookstore or install an app from the Mac App Store, there’s no physical media to manufacture, package and transport. The Apple data centres that provide these digital downloads are among the most energy efficient in the world, and they’re powered by 100 per cent renewable energy from onsite and local sources.

Apple data centres host services including iTunes, the App Store and Maps.

Maiden, North Carolina

Our data centre in Maiden, North Carolina in the US exemplifies our approach to environmental responsibility. It was designed from the ground up for energy efficiency, and it has earned the coveted LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council — to our knowledge, something no other data centre of this size and type has achieved.

In 2012, we completed construction on the nation’s largest end user–owned, onsite solar photovoltaic array on land surrounding the data centre. This 100-acre, 20-megawatt facility has an annual production capacity of 42 million kWh of clean, low-carbon, renewable energy. And we’re currently building a second 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility on nearby land that should be operational in late 2013. In addition, we’ve built an onsite 10-megawatt fuel cell installation that uses directed bio-gas 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 US. 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.

Maiden Energy Sources

Solar power generated on our solar array. Additional energy from local bio-gas, stored in fuel cells.

Energy-efficient design elements

  • A chilled water storage system to improve chiller efficiency by transferring 10,400 kWh of electricity consumption from peak to off-peak hours each day
  • Use of “free” outside air cooling through a waterside economiser operation during night and cool-weather hours, which, along with water storage, allows the chillers to be turned off more than 75 per cent of the time
  • Extreme precision in managing cooling distribution for 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 to provide maximum solar reflectivity
  • High-efficiency LED lighting combined with motion sensors
  • Real-time power monitoring and analytics during operations
  • Construction processes that utilised 14 per cent recycled materials, diverted 93 per cent of construction waste from landfills and sourced 41 per cent of purchased materials within 500 miles (about 800 kilometres) of the site

Prineville, Oregon

Our newest data centre, currently under construction in Prineville, Oregon in the US, will be every bit as environmentally responsible as the one in Maiden. Oregon allows the direct wholesale purchase of renewable energy through Direct Access, so Apple is using this program to opt out of the default grid mix and directly access local renewable energy sources, such as wind, hydro, solar and geothermal power — enough to power the entire facility. As a result, we’re working with two local utilities as well as a number of local renewable energy generation providers both to create Apple-owned renewable energy sources and to invest in and purchase other local renewable energy.

Prineville Energy Sources

Locally sourced renewable resources, including wind, hydro-electric and solar.

Newark, California

Like our facilities in Maiden and Prineville, our data centre in Newark is being powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. We hit this milestone in January 2013, when we began serving the data centre with energy sourced primarily from wind power. We’re procuring this energy directly from the wholesale market through California’s Direct Access program.

Newark Energy Sources

100 per cent clean, renewable energy, sourced primarily from wind power.

Reno, Nevada

Our experiences in Maiden, Prineville and Newark will help ensure that our next data centre, to be located in Reno, Nevada, will live up to the same high standards for environmental responsibility. In Reno, we will take advantage of Nevada’s excellent natural solar radiation and geothermal resources to completely meet the energy needs of our data centre.

Reno Energy Sources

100 per cent renewable energy, generated by onsite solar array and geothermal.

Our commitment to renewable energy.

Renewable energy throughout Apple.

Data centres are just part of the renewable energy story at Apple. We’re investing in plans to achieve net zero throughout Apple — using 100 per cent renewable energy and generating zero emissions at all of our facilities around the world. At our headquarters in Cupertino, for example, we’ve rolled out a bio-gas-powered fuel cell and built rooftop solar photovoltaic systems at two building sites. We’ve also cut energy use by over 30 per cent at a time when occupancy increased by more than 12 per cent. As a result of all our work, we’ve increased the proportion of renewable energy used throughout Apple from 35 per cent in 2010 to 75 per cent at the end of 2012.

Our guiding principles.

As we seek renewable energy for our facilities around the globe, we’re guided by three principles. First, we want to make sure that any clean, renewable energy we create must add to that already mandated by local regulations. Second, we want to displace dirtier forms of energy with clean energy that will make a difference in the communities where we do business. And third, we rigorously measure and report our energy use to ensure that there is no double counting — that only Apple has consumed these renewable resources. Whenever possible, we use the same renewable energy tracking systems that utilities use to demonstrate their compliance with renewable energy mandates.

To learn more, download our Facilities Report (PDF)