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Can You Guess America's Greenest Tech Companies?

By Justin Loiseau – Feb 16, 2014 at 12:03PM

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Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, and Google Inc. make the greenest gizmos around.

If you're reading this, you are part of the problem. While technology has allowed us an unprecedented standard of communication and accessibility, it's also eating up unprecedented amounts of energy.

But some tech companies are denying dirty energy. Here's why Intel Corporation (INTC -1.11%), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT -0.04%), and Google (GOOGL -1.02%) make the greenest gizmos in America.

1. Intel Corporation
Intel Corporation is the largest user of renewable energy in the U.S., and potentially the world. With 3,100,850,000 kWh of green energy to its name, Intel Corporation is a major player in the push to scale renewables .

Intel Corporation pulls power from biogas, biomass, small-scale hydro, solar, and wind projects. In addition to purchasing power from third-party providers, Intel Corporation boasts its own on-site generation . Since 2009, the company has built 18 solar farms at its U.S., Israel, and Vietnam facilities .

Source: Intel Corporation ; Solar Panels at Arizona Intel Campus

Intel Corporation isn't stopping with its own clean consumption, though. Its business is pushing through new products that enable renewable energy to be more effective than ever before. Check out this video on how Intel Corporation helps make offshore wind farms possible:

2. Microsoft Corporation
Intel Corporation is the only company to use 100% green energy, but Microsoft Corporation snags second place with a more-than-respectable 80%. The aging company has often been painted as a slow-moving megacorporation of the past, but Microsoft Corporation's renewable energy use is progressive and impressive .

At 1,935,551,000 kWh of annual green power usage, Microsoft Corporation's investments in biomass, small-scale hydro, solar, and wind power are significant stakes . Here's an infographic explaining some of Microsoft Corporation's green energy initiatives .

Source: Microsoft Corporation 

In addition to more normal tactics like buying up all the power from a 110 MW wind farm in Texas, Microsoft Corporation has also taken the innovative approach of instituting an internal carbon fee . This allows the company to focus on energy efficiency overall – not just purchasing enough green credits to cover its greedy consumption. And by dissecting dirty practices down to individual business groups, Microsoft Corporation is holding each of its entities individually accountable .

3. Google

Source: Google Inc .

Google is America's third greenest tech company. Although it currently relies on renewables for just 32% of its total capacity, Google's massive annual electricity consumption of 737,364,727 kWh means it beats out Apple's fourth-place finish with 85% green power use .

Google's green lineup includes biogas, solar, and wind, and the company produces power both on- and off-site. The company has invested more than $1 billion into different projects, and has a long-term goal of 100% renewable energy use. For a company whose business model is built on the back of electricity-eating data centers, it's an impressive objective .

Google is taking its clean energy fight to the policy world, and recently teamed up with Duke Energy to pilot a "renewable energy tariff" project in North Carolina. Essentially, this tariff allows Duke Energy to charge Google a premium rate in return for ensuring that all its electricity is sourced from renewables – without making Duke's 7.2 million other customers cough up extra cash for clean energy .

Go Green to Make Green?
It'd be nice to think these companies all want to save the planet for the next generation – and perhaps they do. But going green makes business sense, as well. Energy efficiency cuts costs, and customers are increasingly looking to purchase products produced using renewable energy. Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, and Google are the greenest tech companies in America – and it's paying off.

Justin Loiseau owns shares of Google. The Motley Fool recommends Google and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Intel, and Microsoft. 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

Intel Stock Quote
$29.34 (-1.11%) $0.33
Alphabet (A shares) Stock Quote
Alphabet (A shares)
$97.46 (-1.02%) $-1.00
Microsoft Stock Quote
$247.49 (-0.04%) $0.09
Duke Energy Stock Quote
Duke Energy
$99.62 (1.10%) $1.08

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