On Friday, March 9th, Apple announced that it will expand in Austin with a $304 million investment for a new campus that will create more than 3,600 new jobs over a period of ten years. Given more than 3,500 Apple employees now in Austin, this move will double the size of its workforce in Texas. The development follows Apple’s acceptance of a $21 million award over ten years from the Texas Enterprise Fund.
As a result of selecting a new site, Apple will continue to expand its use of green initiatives. There are three ways in which Apple has become a benchmark for sustainability in the Austin area:
1) Leveraging Renewable Energy: Apple has been participating in Austin Energy’s Green Choice Renewable Energy Program for over 10 years and has helped create a market demand for renewable power sources such as wind and biogas in Texas;
2) Minimizing Transportation: Apple has established commuter transit programs for each facility to minimize the environmental impact of home-to-work travel. Additionally, Apple provides a transit subsidy for all U.S. employees, up to $100 per month, in order to encourage carpooling between commute locations;
3) Minimizing Water Use: Apple operations are not water intensive. Apple Austin maintains a sophisticated irrigation system that monitors weather conditions and soil moisture to adjust the watering schedule of landscaping, based on a combination or programmed instructions and actual conditions onsite. This system is expected to save up to 50% of the water that is normally used for landscaping annually.
Apple’s North Carolina cloud computing site, now under construction, may give a glimpse of more sustainability to come. Their new site will be utilizing both solar power and fuel cell energy with state-the-art renewable energy generation that targets providing 100% of the power required by their data center and facilities. The new Austin site could raise the bar for how local businesses can thrive by exclusively using on-site renewable energy.