Giving a whole new meaning to “power lunch”

Yahoo! Green ScreenUp to now, it has been impolite to talk about gas emissions in a cafeteria. But we’re hoping to change that. At Yahoo!, I have the pleasure of working with an extremely motivated and vibrant volunteer group of 200-plus employees around the world who make up our Yahoo! Green Team. Our mission is simple – to take action, big and small, to help Yahoo! reduce its carbon footprint. As part of this effort, today we installed a new “Yahoo! Green Screen” – an interactive energy monitoring display (touch screen) that shows employees our energy usage in real-time at our Sunnyvale headquarters. The plan is to roll out other green screens to more Yahoo! campuses over time.

Empowering green actions through our employees and across our business is something we take very seriously (we launched a consumer-friendly resource for all things green called Yahoo! Green and pledged to be a carbon neutral company last year).

green screen interfaceThe Green Screen, which uses the Building Dashboard technology by Lucid Design Group presents energy usage in an easy to understand way and gives anyone who approaches the touch screen kiosk the ability to play with the information. Data can be viewed in megawatt hours, tons of carbon, or dollars. So, for example, you can see how many pounds of carbon have been emitted per person on the Sunnyvale campus from our energy usage that day. Employees will also be able to see energy consumption across buildings and compare trends viewed over time. We’re displaying dozens of “Green Tips” too – such as how to take advantage of our award-winning commute options, or where to shop for green products online. In addition to being available in our cafeteria, the Yahoo! Green Screen will be available to all employees worldwide on our corporate intranet to engage participation through suggestions, providing feedback, and just taking part in their local offices.

So now, when we lower the thermostat by 2 degrees in one of our buildings, we can immediately see the effect on energy consumption (and even carbon output).

Our hope is that this opens a healthy dialogue about our energy usage and empowers our employees to be more aware of our impact on the environment, and engages them to take action in their own way. This is one of the small pieces that helps us continue to reduce our carbon footprint and serves as a reminder that any action, no matter how big or how small, does make a difference.

Kate Gerwe
Senior Marketing Director, Corporate Partnerships and Yahoo! Green Team Leader

Photo from Jeremy Johnstone.