Apple Touts Plans for Massive Solar Farm and Fuel Cell Facilities at North Carolina Data Center
Apple's data center in Maiden, North Carolina
Among the additions is a brief discussion of the company's massive new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, which Apple touts as being the only such facility of comparable size to earn LEED Platinum certification. The company also notes that the solar farm being built across the street from the facility will be the largest user-owned solar array in the United States, registering at 20 megawatts. Finally, Apple will also be powering the facility with a 5-megawatt fuel cell installation, the largest in the country not owned by a utility company. Additional details are available in the company's facilities report (PDF).
Our new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, demonstrates our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our facilities through energy-efficient, green building design. The facility has earned the coveted LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. We know of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification. Our goal is to run the Maiden facility with high percentage renewable energy mix, and we have major projects under way to achieve this — including building the nation’s largest end user-owned solar array and building the largest nonutility fuel cell installation in the United States.
Still, rapid growth in the company's sales have caused Apple's carbon footprint to balloon, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing by 56% from 14.8 million metric tons in 2010 to 23.1 million metric tons in 2011. The biggest swings in terms of share of Apple's carbon footprint come from product use itself, which declined from 45% of the company's use to just 30%, and manufacturing, which increased from 45% to 61% between 2010 and 2011. But even with the rapid growth in carbon footprint, Apple touts that greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of revenue have decreased by 15.4 percent since 2008.
Among other additions in Apple's 2011 environmental report, the company touts increased usage of "environmentally conscious materials" such as repolymerized plastic bottles in fan assemblies, recycled plastic in speaker assembles and internal brackets, recycled paper in packing, and renewable tapioca paper foam in iPhone packages.