WSP conducted the study using a quantitative model to calculate and compare the energy consumption and carbon footprint of IT applications, computer equipment and storage resources in the Microsoft cloud, to an equivalent on-premises deployment. Jon Koomey, an industry expert and Stanford University educator, conducted an independent third-party review of the methodology.
The methodology developed by WSP drew on principles of GHG accounting and life cycle assessments.
“Assessing the full life cycle helps to ensure inclusion of all major emission sources,” said WSP’s Derek Fehrer, senior consultant and co-author of the report.
The life cycle approach provided a full picture of the environmental impact of a product or service and the required energy consumption, including:
- raw material extraction and equipment assembly,
- transportation of the equipment to the datacenter,
- use of the equipment and its energy consumption, and
- the end-of-life treatment and disposal of the equipment.
The study also considered the impact that Microsoft’s purchases of renewable electricity at their data centers across the globe have on emissions associated with the Microsoft cloud.
WSP engaged with dozens of stakeholders to obtain the numerous inputs required to ensure a comprehensive analysis. Managing the data and translating diverse operational information into a consistent framework required flexible models and rigorous data management practices.