October 13, 2009, 12:00 AM

eBay undertakes an ambitious green initiative

EBay Inc. has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 15% by 2012. The company says it will make that goal by committing to energy efficiency and conservation, and by continuing to invest in renewable energy.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

EBay Inc. has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 15% by 2012. The company says it will achieve that goal by committing to energy efficiency and conservation, continuing to invest in renewable energy and promoting energy reduction in travel habits and personal energy use among its global workforce of 15,000.

Last year, eBay opened an office building in San Jose with a solar power installation. The building also has been LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified and features dimming systems and the use of recycled materials. EBay is also installing a new solar energy system at offices in Denver.

“As an e-commerce company, eBay has a relatively small carbon footprint with a majority of the company’s environmental impact coming from the energy consumed by its data centers,” eBay said in reporting its commitment. “The company’s approach to data management and infrastructure will be a key efficiency driver. In 2010, eBay will unveil a new state-of-the-art green data center that will house more than a third of its global data infrastructure. The site, which is being built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold standards in South Jordan, Utah, will deliver state-of-the-art efficiencies in cooling and power management, as well as in IT infrastructure and software.”

EBay also has undertaken a two-year initiative to install new technology that allows the company to process more transactions per watt. And rather than junk its old servers, eBay has donated them for other uses. A recent example is a contribution to the University of Notre Dame where the servers work in Notre Dame’s research labs to power AIDS and cancer research, and directs the heat generated from those servers to warm a greenhouse adjacent to the laboratory.

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