ICT's role in sustainability: 5 predictions from Microsoft

Wed, 2014-01-15 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

From the Council's perspective, sustainability is one of three core values a smart city embodies. That's why a post from Robert Bernard, Microsoft chief environmental strategist, caught our attention. In it he talks about themes taking shape that are likely to transform the role of ICT in sustainability in dramatic ways in the months ahead.

Bernard lists the top five themes he sees taking shape as 2014 unfolds:

  1. ICT arrives as a sustainability strategy for enterprses
  2. Green energy and the power of procurement
  3. Smart buildings investments will increase dramatically
  4. Finding new ways to measure natural capital
  5. Nexus of food, energy and water will emerge

Microsoft's Redmond, WA "smart campus"It's easy to see how several of those themes impact cities, but let's zoom in on what Bernard says about smart buildings since in terms of sustainability, cities have substantial room for improvement with 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions coming from them.

The good news, Bernard suggests, is that advanced technologies are emerging that make it easier – and more impactful – for cities to leverage ICT to curb energy use. And he notes that Microsoft, a Council Lead Partner, along with its partners and competitors are all on it, investing significantly more in this space.

His prediction?  In 2014, low capital costs coupled with minimal workflow disruption will see "a number of major real estate management and ownership companies and cities begin deploying smart building management systems at a much more rapid pace."

Microsoft, of course, doesn't just talk the talk. You can read how the software giant's "smart campus" makeover is saving millions in energy costs and a case study on its smart buildings pilot in downtown Seattle.


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