There has been a lot of buzz about technology companies investing in various renewable projects in recent years. Yet despite all the commitments to reduce carbon by the likes of Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), could the biggest move of all actually come down to personal choice? IBM (NYSE:IBM) believes it will. In fact, IBM was awarded a patent on October 1 for a "green" button that can help cloud data center operators "greenify" their businesses and give customers a choice of whether or not to tap clean energy to run their offsite servers.

Why talk about a patent awarded last month? I've held a plethora of recent talks with various utility providers who have said their businesses will be more focused around a customer experience in the future. What can be better than giving customers an actual choice when it comes to energy? Could this move by IBM help bring the U.S. closer to domestic renewable energy tariffs, which have been publicly supported by tech companies like Google? I believe the answer is yes, and that could boost additional investment in renewable projects here at home. This green button concept could be game-changing for energy consumption and distribution, and that could bode well for utilities and renewable players like First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) if it's done right. 

John Licata has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow John on Twitter @bluephoenixinc.com. The Motley Fool recommends Google and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Intel, International Business Machines, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.