Apple disputes failing grade in iCloud eco-friendliness by Greenpeace

Greenpeace recently released a report detailing how ecologically friendly different cloud service providers were in their data center operations, and Apple ranked 15.3% on their clean energy index. The index is built on criteria such as reliance on coal and nuclear energy, transparency in energy usage, and use of renewable sources. Google, by comparison, reached 39.4%, while Microsoft scored 13.9%.

Following the report, Apple has disputed Greenpeace's estimates, claiming that their data center would use 20 million watts maximum, while Greenpeace ballparked usage at 100 million watts. Apple also added that they're building a solar panel array and fuel cells powered by organic emissions, which should significantly contribute to their electrical demands at a data center in North Carolina.  Despite refuting their claims, Greenpeace stuck to their guns, and even had Amazon's chief web engineer estimate that Apple's new $1 billion, 500,000 square-foot data center would use at least 78 million watts. Greenpeace says that the renewable sources being built by Apple will only handle 10% of the energy demands.

Greenpeace has never ranked Apple particularly well in their rankings of electronics manufacturers, while Apple has a put a concerted effort into promoting their eco-friendly image. Apple obviously has a vested interest in proving that they're mindful of the environment, but most of their case studies relate to manufacturing materials and battery efficiency, not necessarily power usage for iCloud data centers.

How much does eco-friendliness factor into your decision to buy electronics? I can't imagine too many people think about data center energy consumption when signing up to cloud services, but maybe we should be. Here's the full report, if you want to take a gander. Page 38 goes into the specifics of their clean energy index rating.

Source: NYT, Greenpeace

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Apple disputes failing grade in iCloud eco-friendliness by Greenpeace


"Despite refuting their claims, Greenpeace stuck to their guns" -- an editor is needed here, methinks

This blog has appalling writing and up sucks so much to Apple that there's no chance of an intelligent critique about the company's appalling working practices.

Part of my reply didn't make it in. The wording was: " an >iPhone blog, seeing that this is an >iPhone blog<?

I couldn't resist commenting on your (shall we say) meaningful comment. If you breath air, drink water and eat food; then perhaps you should care. Do you use money? Perhaps you would like more of it? Then you should care as the planet is running out of non-renewable resources. This isn't just about your disdain for shower abstaining hip individuals but it is about the economic sustainability of our current (hopefully long lasting) culture. Our future is only assured if we can make the transition from non-renewable energy sources to renewable ones. I for one do care and find the report from Greenpeace to have a huge impact on where I place my funds. Every time we spend money, we have a voice as to what large corporations should do.

Think about your words the next time you buy your next product. More than likely the product you buy will be made in China, who pollutes far more than the US or any other country.
Dirt people never get it. They are walking hypocrites and don't even know it because they are too busy looking down their noses at everybody.

I, for one, have a hard time taking seriously statements made by an organization that has conisitently used immature/bone-headed acts to attract attention to themselves and their cause (including accidentally crashing one of their own boats into a coral reef). It gives the environmental conservation cause an odious connotation....

I think it's interesting that Greenpeace thinks they, and even Amazon, is better at judging Apples power consumption than Apple itself... Just how does that work?

Well, you can't always trust these numbers companies throw out. Maybe apple is skewing the numbers to their benefit. Maybe Amazon and Green scape are right. But then maybe Apples numbers are right. The truth may never be known. Either way its still a lot of electric.

If you enjoy seeing Bald Eagles, drinking clean water, eating healthy food, not having toxic chemicals in your back yard or local playground or park, rivers that don't ignite; if you like the idea of less lead and other toxins in the air you breathe than 40+ years ago, if you like having national parks instead of privately owned, neon sign infested Grand Canyons et al. etc., etc. etc. and on and on and on and on, then....
thank a Hippie!