The equations that some companies use to calculate their exposure to alternative energy sources are admittedly somewhat misleading and completely self-serving. Keep in mind that often, when a company says that 50 percent or even 100 percent of its energy comes from alternative sources, this often includes a combination of actual usage and renewable energy credits. But they get our attention nonetheless.
This is definitely the case with Dell, which has been among the companies most actively trumpeting its renewable energy exposure. The latest is that the technology giant now sources approximately 26 percent of its global electricity from renewable sources, which is up from 20 percent in 2008.
Dell says nine of its facilities are actually at the 100 percent mark: Bracknell and Glasgow in the United Kingdom, Frankfurt and Halle, Germany; Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; the Round Rock, Texas, headquarters; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Oklahoma City, Okla.
By giving regular attention to this strategy, Dell is able to set itself up as a more aggressive corporate sustainability citizen than some of its competitors. For example, it claims that the amount of carbon dioxide that it produces relative to its revenue is less than half that of its closest, unnamed competitors. Gets you thinking, doesn't it?
A resource, as you assess your own alternative energy strategy and just how public you want to be about it, is the Green Power Partnership program from the Environmental Protection Agency. Not only can you read about ideas for embracing alternative sources, you can also check out how other communities and companies (including Dell) are doing on a series of rankings that the EPA publishes on an ongoing basis.