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IT goes green
IT goes green
Green star: Rob Bernard
Title: Chief Environmental Strategist
Company: Microsoft
Top 50 rank: 9

Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft, says he spends his time trying to find answers to several fundamental questions: "How do we make the IT industry greener? How do we think about the problem all the way from the silicon level, up through the buildings and data centers?"

Like Google, Microsoft is trying to focus on data center efficiency. Bernard also coordinates other projects company-wide and beyond.

Microsoft has formed partnerships with industry rivals to try to promote green technology. Along with AMD, Intel, Oracle and other tech giants, Microsoft is on the board of a project called the Green Grid, which is designed to use IT to promote sustainability. Often, he says, sustainability "is more about communication and governance than it is about technology."

For example, "40% of energy use happens in buildings, and buildings are largely not intelligent from an IT perspective," Bernard says. So Microsoft and others are working on how to use IT to measure building efficiency, then improve it. "That'll be one of the biggest returns society can get," according to Bernard.

Microsoft has several other projects, including creating tech tools for researchers to do climate research, and working with the European Environmental Agency to host data about Europe's air and water quality. .

NEXT: 'Out of the box' thinking about boxes
Last updated March 03 2011: 3:01 PM ET
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