Reduce your cloud carbon footprint with Microsoft Sustainability Calculator

In our previous Azure post, we learnt how to Reduce VM latency with Azure Proximity Placement Groups. Give it a read in case you have not done so. In this post, we will see how to reduce our cloud carbon footprint with the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator.

Assessing your enterprise’s cloud carbon impact with the calculator

  • Get to the the root cause of carbon emissions by tracking actual emissions over a time period.
  • You gain visibility via the sustainability dashboard. It helps you understand the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Azure cloud and Dynamics 365 usage.
  • You can calculate how to further reduce carbon emissions by moving additional services and other applications to the cloud.

On Jan 2020, Microsoft announced the availability of the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator. Since past some years, Microsoft was already into the work of reducing the environmental footprint as a result of organizations going digital and embracing the cloud. Microsoft also announced that by 2030 they will be carbon negative. With this they want to empower their partners and customers to achieve their own environment sustainability goals. Hence they announced the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator as a part of this initiative.

What is the Sustainability Calculator?

The Microsoft Sustainability Calculator is a Power BI application which can be used by Azure enterprise customers. This calculator will provide insight into data on carbon emissions associated with their Azure services. With the use of cloud data centers, organizations are looking at more environmentally green initiatives and want to be able to detect the carbon impact of their cloud workloads which will help them in taking sustainable decisions for cloud computing.

Interesting read – 7 Step Azure Certification Guide – Which one is best for you?

Who should use the Sustainability Calculator?

Teams which are responsible for initiating and reporting on sustainability in their organizations will now be able to quantify the carbon impact of each Azure subscription. They can also view estimations on carbon savings from running their workloads in Azure versus their on-premises datacenters. Thereby, this data can be utilized for reporting the greenhouse emissions.

How does the Sustainability Calculator work?

This calculator considers inputs such as the energy of the electrical grid which serves the hosting data centers and energy requirements of the Azure service. It also considers Microsoft’s procurement of renewable energy in those data centers, as well as the energy emissions related with data transfer over the internet. The tool’s calculations are based on the Azure consumption of a customer. The resulting numbers are an estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions. These are measured in units of metric tons of carbon equivalent related to a customer’s consumption of Azure.

NOTE: All image sources in this post taken credit
https://azure.microsoft.com/ and
https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-us/product/power-bi/coi-sustainability.sustainability_dashboard

Microsoft sustainability calculator

The calculator also gives a detailed view of the estimated emissions savings from running workloads on Azure compared to that of the customer’s on-premises infrastructure. It also estimates the emissions savings from Microsoft’s purchase of renewable energy.

calculator preview

Requirements

You will require the Azure tenant ID and access keying order to get the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator. These can be accessed by the Azure administrator.

Installation

Click on below link
https://aka.ms/SustainabilityCalculator

calculator download
calculator sign in

Follow the next steps to install the same.

Below is an alternate method to install the same via the Azure Enterprise Portal.

How to connect to the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator

In order to use this app, some information will be required from the Azure Enterprise Portal for which system administrator’s help would be needed. These instructions should be reviewed with the admin team prior to installing the calculator.

As of Jan 2020, the connector version only supports enterprise enrollments from https://ea.azure.com. Note that China enrollments are currently not supported.

Connecting

In the navigation pane, select Apps>Get apps in the upper-right corner.

calculator connect

AppSource > Apps tab> Search the service needed.

calculator apps

Select Microsoft Sustainability Calculator > Get it now.
Install this Power BI App? > Install.
Under Apps > Microsoft Sustainability Calculator
Under Get started with your new app > Connect

calculator start

Input Company name, User enrollment number, Number of months
Select Sign In and enter below details.

NOTE: Below details can be found as follows

  • Company Enrollment ID and Access key can be obtained from the Azure admin team.
  • Sign in at the Azure enterprise Portal,
  • Click Manage on the ribbon at the left > Enrollment Number
  • From portal, click Reports >API Access Key to access the Primary Enrollment Account Key
calculator connect details
  • Authentication method > Key
  • Privacy level > Organizational.
  • Key > Enter the Access key as shown in above steps.
  • Finally, click Sign In.
calculator authentication

On signing in, the process of import automatically begins. On completing, a report and view of dashboard will appear in the Navigation Pane.

Select the report to view the data imported for you.

Updating parameters

In order to change the above parameters, navigate to the Dataset settings and update the tenant ID, company name etc. Once updating of parameters is complete click ‘Refresh’ and the data will be reloaded the data with the updated parameters.

Summary

In this post we saw how Microsoft aims to reduce the carbon footprint in the organization. As well as with the announcement of this sustainability calculator, it is also giving other organizations the ability to do so. Hope we too take some learning from this and try to save our environment with our own little initiatives. Do comment or share if you enjoyed reading this article.

Hitesh Boricha

I have a little over a decade experience in the IT industry. Having worked in various roles in this industry, I am passionate about technology.

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