Microsoft is utilizing geoexchange fields for its carbon negative ambitions

The Visitor’s Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington.
The Visitor’s Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. (Image credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has committed to going carbon negative by 2030.
  • It has been working toward sustainable business practices in order to achieve this goal.
  • The Thermal Energy Center is Microsoft's latest tool in its sustainability arsenal.

Microsoft's not playing around when it comes to sustainability initiatives. The company has pledged to go carbon negative by 2030, and such a goal has necessitated changes in operations from every corner of the tech giant. Be it by giving servers baths or drilling hundreds of geowells into the earth, sustainable initiatives are here to stay.

One big plan on the docket for Microsoft is to utilize the earth's naturally cooler sub-surface temps to ensure its campus maintains a healthy temperature (via Fast Company). This isn't the same proposition as provided by air conditioners and gas-burning furnaces, since it's clean energy. It's also how Redmond is going to keep cool, thanks to the 875 geowells spread across 2.5 acres, all of which will be part of Microsoft's Thermal Energy Center's elaborate closed-loop system. The majority of the system will run on renewable electricity, per Microsoft's report on the project.

The wells will go 550 feet underground and "compose one of the largest 'geoexchange' fields in the United States to harness the earth's thermal energy," according to Microsoft. Since heating and cooling power is linked directly to how many wells Microsoft drills, it arrived at the number 875 very carefully, weighing electricity needed versus what heat and cooling would be supplied.

Microsoft's not just bettering itself with efforts such as these. There have been plenty of examples of the company extending its knowledge of sustainability initiatives to help partners and peers, such as with its Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability package, which gives corporations the tools they need to track environmental impact and form plans of action around the insights provided to them.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to