Today is World Environment Day (WED) - a day each year that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has marked to “stimulate worldwide awareness of environmental issues,” and to encourage everyone to take action to preserve our environment. The day is celebrated by countries, regions, cities, government, companies, and individuals across the world.
At Symantec, environmental stewardship is an integral part of Symantec’s business strategy, both in terms of managing impacts related to the company’s operations and the development of new products and services for our customers. In celebration of World Environment Day I am happy to bring you an update on one of our most recent and exciting projects at Symantec’s headquarters in Mountain View.
Symantec Mountain View’s Solar Project
At Symantec, the electricity we use to power our data center and labs, along with associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continues to represent our largest environmental impact. We are addressing this issue by evaluating methodologies for our facilities to be run in the most efficient way possible. For example, in 2013 we joined BSR’s Future of Internet Power Initiative, a group of leading IT companies looking to identify and publicize best practices around low-carbon power sourcing for data centers in the United States, as well as helping Internet companies work more effectively with key policymakers and utilities.
Another way we accomplish this is by exploring innovative ways to increase our use of renewable energy. Recently, management at our Mountain View campus asked themselves – what more can we do in Mountain View to bring sustainability to the forefront in innovative ways? As we began this discussion, we had seen many of our Silicon Valley peers and neighbors benefitting from solar installations. When we started to examine this option more, we uncovered a great opportunity in Mountain View.
By leveraging our own property – in this case, our car garage - could we create a self-sustaining facility? The answer seemed to be yes, but there was still a lot of research to do.
So last April, we took a step back and asked ourselves – do the benefits of solar outweigh the costs? After deeply analyzing the benefits and tradeoffs (with the help of potential vendors), it became obvious that solar power generation would pay back in many ways including:
- Reduces the cost of the annual energy bill by ~90%
- Increases property value
- Reduces carbon emissions
- Increases brand value and customer trust
- Takes advantage of federal, state, and local tax incentives
- Locks in a fixed energy production rate for the next ~25+ years
So due to the hard work of our facilities team and our solar partner, we are now embarking on what will be Mountain View’s first solar installation. Soon, the building housing our cafeteria and fitness center will be completely run on solar power generated from panels installed on top of the parking garage.
It’s an impressive project that we are very excited about. In total, we’ll install nearly 1,500 solar panels on the garage roof.
|Symantec’s first solar installation: Nearly 1,500 solar panels installed on a parking garage in Mountain View will allow Building E (housing Symantec’s Cafe and Fitness Center) to be completely run on solar power.|
Additionally, an interactive screen will be displayed in the Symantec Cafe where employees can see real-time updates on the solar project.
|An interactive screen will be featured in the Mountain View cafeteria displaying – in real-time – power generation from the solar project.|
What’s next for solar power at Symantec?
The use of solar power is increasing rapidly across the United States and globally. Last year, about a quarter of new power generation capacity in the US was from solar – second only to natural gas.
US President Barack Obama recently announced commitments by over 300 organizations to invest in energy efficiency and solar energy. Additionally, the White House made their own statement by recently installing solar panels on their rooftop, and advocating strongly for the advancement of the American solar industry. And an increase in the use of solar power – primarily from the utility sector – has cut the cost of solar energy systems by more than 50 percent.
There are numerous benefits to solar power, all of which drove us to pursue this opportunity. It decreases pollution, it creates jobs, and it brings us closer to our goals for energy efficiency and GHG emissions reductions.
All of this, coupled with a widespread passion and awareness for preserving our planetary resources, is making it easier for businesses, governments and residents to rely on this clean energy resource. As with any project, this is a first step, but we recognize the vast opportunities and benefits that solar power brings and look forward to tracking the successful progress of our first solar installation.
Karminder Raj Singh, Leader - Global Space Planning and Projects