Mr. Sean Hartnett, the Microsoft US Industry Advisor Team for Smart Buildings, explains Microsoft’s view on its responsibility for sustainability and its goals to achieve it and to help the world as a whole to achieve sustainability. This objective includes using all of the company’s resources, technology, and expertise. Mr. Hartnett also discusses how the Microsoft uses ICONICS software in its smart buildings.

Video Transcript

[0:00] Ted Hill, ICONICS President and CEO

I'm really pleased that Microsoft is going to be joining us next. ICONICS and Microsoft, we've worked very closely together for a long time. We've worked on development together; we've done some joint customer projects together. Microsoft uses ICONICS to manage all of their facilities globally. ICONICS has been a Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winner 10 times. In this past July, we were the runner up in the category of Sustainability Change Maker, and that was out of 4400 companies that had been nominated. We're going to be joined by Shawn Hartnett. Shawn leads the US industry advisor team for smart buildings. He and his team work with clients and partners on their digital strategies, solutions, and processes to help them optimally manage all the assets they have, their space, and their people. Shawn, really appreciate you taking time to join us at Connect 2021.

[1:07] Sean Hartnett, Microsoft US Industry Advisor Team for Smart Buildings

Welcome. Thanks, Ted. I'm excited to be here at ICONICS Connect 2021. And you know what, it's amazing how much are two companies are aligned on our sustainability, roadmaps, and positions. So, I'll get into that right now. And I'm here to share how Microsoft is positioned for sustainability, our future goals, and how we can help our customers be successful using our technology and our partners’ technology like ICONICS. And we're going to get into some of these examples today and really highlight what we've done together on our campus to achieve sustainability. So, let's get started. We see climate change and humanity's response to it as one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime. According to the August 2021 report of the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change, climate change is affecting every region on the earth in multiple ways. Carbon dioxide, CO2, is one of the main drivers of climate change. The report that strong sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. And the report confirms that unless there are immediate, rapid, and large scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to one and a half, or even two degrees Celsius, will be big enough. But we believe it's not too late to put together a future that allows everyone not only survive, but also thrive. And for that, we need to work at the intersection of technology and science. So, we can better understand what's happening, and respond with tools to better manage our environmental resources and mitigate risks on local and global scales.


At Microsoft, sustainability is not just something we do for an operational standpoint; it's at the core of our business. And we're committed to harnessing the power of technology to help everyone everywhere build a more sustainable future. And today, I'm happy to share with you how we've done that ourselves and with our partner ICONICS. Plus, I will talk about how we can collectively work together to achieve more. Because we believe it's not only the responsibility of every company to manage change and think sustainably, but we also think it's everyone's opportunity to change. At Microsoft, we've invested in in building the world's leading platform for technology solutions to enable environmental challenges. Many companies including ours map their sustainability and corporate responsibility strategies to the UN sustainability development goals, adopted by all 190 UN states as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainability Development. We support all of the UN goals. But we are focusing today on environmental sustainability in four key areas of carbon, waste, water, and ecosystems. Our goal is to use the whole of Microsoft's business power to affect change in those areas by minimizing the negative impacts of our operations and maximizing the positive impacts of our technology. While we've long been focused on operating our business as effectively as possible, increasingly we're taking responsibility for our carbon, water waste, and land footprints across our product and facilities including our supply chain. We are developing new products and services driven by data, AI, and digital technology to empower environmental sustainability. We're developing new features and benefits to help customers and partners like ICONICS better understand and manage their potential environmental impacts. We will use our voice on the climate related public policy issues and support new policy initiatives to help us all move faster. It's our most important asset. Our people are the ones developing these technologies. And collectively, they are the powerful voice for change. They've continued to push us in new directions. And we know that they will continue to do so. Of the four environmental areas. We are focused on carbon as the area where we've invested the most. And every industry has a carbon footprint that they will increasingly have to manage. Keep in mind this approach and focus we built at doesn't evolve overnight. It's been a long journey.


In fact, we started our sustainability journey over a decade ago. So, it is not new. We've landed important work ever since we set our first carbon emission reduction goal back in 2009. We've made steady progress; we've realized that given size of this planetary challenge, we need to up our ambition. And in 2020 we made significant commitments to guide our environmental sustainability work over the next decade and beyond. Because we know that by 2030 society will be on our way to mitigating and adapting rapidly changing climates, reducing the amount of waste we generate, ensuring resilient water supplies, and even reversing the ongoing catastrophic denigration of ecosystems. So, in January 2020, we announced the bold commitment and detailed plan to operate with 100% renewable energy by 2025 and be carbon negative by 2030. We built on the pledge with a series of industry leading commitments to be water positive, a zero waste company by 2030, and develop a new planetary computer to better monitor, model, and manage the world's ecosystems and protect more land than we use. Across the company, our teams are driving these ambitious goals internally and helping set best practices and new standards for business around the world. For our corporate sustainability commitments to make the broadest impact, we need to ensure that the world is working from a common taxonomy and common units and common methods of measurement. We're targeting 2030 as the milestone for standardizing digitized sustainability data. Again, Microsoft has prioritized carbon as our top area for action. In January of 2020, we announced greater goals for reducing our carbon emissions and established a new target. We said that Microsoft would no longer be simply carbon neutral. We will become carbon negative by 2030. By that we mean that we intend to reduce emissions and our operations as low as possible by using renewable energy and by switching to an electrical vehicle fleet. By 2025, we plan to nearly eliminate our scope one or two emissions through energy efficiency work. We'll use zero carbon power and diesel free generation, zero carbon transport with vehicle electrification, and smart building solutions that maximize efficiency. We will continually improve energy efficiency and datacenters, shifting to low carbon standby power systems, including battery storage and low carbon fuel such as hydrogen. We will collectively purchase enough renewable energy to match our data centers, buildings and campus electricity use worldwide. We will reduce scope three emissions by more than half by 2030. We'll do this by importing supplier missions, data tracking and reporting. Applying our existing carbon free which is successful to date and optimizing energy efficiency and devices and software like ICONICS. We are piloting even new tools to help us shift to more virtual events and other ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We plan to remove our historical emissions by the year 2050. Accounting for direct and electricity consumption related emissions back to 1975. I wasn't even alive. To achieve this, we will pioneer the use of carbon dioxide removal technologies to negate all the emissions we cannot abate. Along the way will sustain our innovative partnerships and projects such as renewable energy matching solutions, distributed energy pilots, and grid interactive energy storage batteries. We've made great headway. And here are some of the highlights that we reported back in January 2021. We've reduced our carbon emissions across all scopes by more than 580 metric tons and FY20, we've invested over $15 million in energy impact partners and other sustainability investments. And in 2021, we're focused on continuing the progress against our carbon negative agenda, scaling up our supply chain, and engaging deeply with top suppliers to reduce their emissions and collect carbon data from their activities. Expanding innovation and technology based carbon removal as we shift our carbon removal portfolio towards a balance of nature and technology based solutions. And new functionalities will be added to our Microsoft sustainability calculator and building new sustainable solution accelerators and technology features in the future. All the while we plan to scale and accelerate our climate mitigation activities through a phased approach. We'll continue to use our voice, expand our global R&D, and to seek to remove regulatory barriers. And empower consumers through transparency on universal standards. 


We will also drive climate equity through prioritizing and funding, ensuring accountability for those projects and under resourced communities. And we'll continue to expand this across all of our buildings and our campuses. And in fact, our first sustainability project here at Microsoft was an energy smart building solution that we partnered with ICONICS to utilize here on our campus which utilized Azure IoT analytics and AI ICONICS in their software that enabled Microsoft to collect and analyze the IoT sensor data from building management systems giving us the visibility into the properties health so we can improve energy efficiency and lower costs. And ICONICS is also using Azure digital twins to boost the software's capabilities and rapidly deliver solutions to our customers such as occupancy and spatial analytics. And it's pretty amazing. Back when we started this here on our campus, our initial effort was focused on about 125 buildings in Redmond at the time, and we had about 15 million square feet of our office space and land space on 500 acres. And we were servicing more than 60,000 employees across the campus. And there were multiple disparate building systems and other IoT devices. And ultimately, we were spending about $60 million annually on our utility spend. So, we had a pretty big challenge in front of us. And we utilized and partnered ICONICS to help us leverage and manage the data from these different systems to effectively reduce our emissions and energy costs. We put the software sensors on everything from fire extinguishers to HVAC blowers to lights and conference rooms. Were able to see all of our buildings in one single unified view and understand where the problems were happening. And in some cases, were able to actually solve those business problems before they even started. By analyzing the nearly 500 million real time transactions a day, we were able to automate processes and reduce energy consumption, while also identifying and predicting issues and equipment failure. As a result of that initial effort, Microsoft achieved a 10 to 25% reduction depending on the building on average energy usage with an implementation payback in less than 18 months. We most recently have continued to expand on that project and incorporated more AI tools such as Project Bonzai. And we've seen another 15% reduction in our energy consumption. We will continue to work with ICONICS and our partner ecosystem to help customers optimize their operations, saving energy, saving money, all the smart building strategies. Using IoT and AI, we can collect data and open visibility into these operations and identify anomalies that need to be addressed and autonomously controlled and ultimately lead to increased sustainability. Soon Microsoft will be launching the new Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. This is the future. And it will be a comprehensive integrated automated sustainability management platform for organizations at any stage of the sustainability journey. It is designed to streamline the processes for businesses to collect data, analyze the data, and ultimately turn it into insights.


The new Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability will enable you to more effectively record, report and reduce your emissions on the path to net zero with future plans to support water and waste tracking. The Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability will help those organizations again, collected data, accelerate integration, enable more reporting, and enable them to ultimately track against those sustainability goals here in the future. For more information, please feel free to go to, to get additional insights and how you can accelerate your goals to net zero. I look forward to talking with all of you, and I hope we've learned a lot today. And what we've done with our partner ecosystem with our partner ICONICS here, and that we've helped you reimagine how your business can achieve sustainability through this new lens. And again, together we can transform the business to meet new demands and markets to help you build more sustainable futures by harnessing the power of technology. Ted, it's been great presenting here at ICONICS Connect 2021. I look forward to participating in the rest of the today's events.

[16:43] Ted Hill

Shawn Thank you hopefully next time you'll be able to join us in person when we can have an in- person event.