Sustainability in the Cloud

AWS is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering, with millions of global users depending on it every day. To build a sustainable business for our customers and for the world we all share, we’re designing data centers that provide the efficient, resilient service our customers expect while minimizing our environmental footprint—and theirs.

AWS Employees Re:Invent Building
AWS Employees Re:Invent Building
AWS Employees Re:Invent Building
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Energy Efficiency

We focus on efficiency across all aspects of our infrastructure, from the design of our data centers and hardware to modeling the performance of our operations for continually enhanced efficiency.

Power Efficiency
Cooling Efficiency
Tracking Performance
Energy Efficiency
Power Efficiency
We’re using innovation to improve power efficiency in multiple ways, including our investment in AWS-designed chips and the AWS Nitro System. For instance, AWS-designed Graviton3 is our most power-efficient general-purpose processor. Graviton3-based Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances use up to 60% less energy for the same performance than non-Graviton EC2 instances. With the world’s increasing need for computing and as machine learning has become mainstream, continually innovating at the chip level will be critical to sustainably powering the workloads of the future.
 industrial water cooling pipes in shades of blue and red.
Energy Efficiency
Cooling Efficiency
AWS continually innovates on cooling efficiency. For example, we worked with our vendors to optimize the longevity and airflow performance of the cooling medium used in our data center cooling systems. The new medium provides twice the service life and allows air to pass through more easily than previous iterations, saving fan energy. This has significant impacts on building energy performance, reducing the energy use of cooling equipment by 20%.
Energy Efficiency
Predicting and Tracking Performance
We use advanced modeling methods, such as computational fluid dynamics tools, to optimize our data center design. This allows us to fully understand how the data center will perform before it is ever built, enabling us to optimize for higher reliability and energy efficiency in our systems. Once our data centers are operational, real-time, physics-based models allow us to further improve and optimize our designs. We build these custom models using AWS services and weather datasets from the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI) to predict system performance for our sites and track their performance against how they should be operating.
Studies by 451 Research have shown that AWS’ infrastructure is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of U.S. enterprise data centers surveyed and up to five times more energy efficient than the average in Europe. 451 Research also found that AWS can lower customers’ workload carbon footprints by nearly 80% compared to surveyed enterprise data centers, and up to 96% once AWS is powered with 100% renewable energy—a target we’re on path to meet by 2025.
As AWS continues to invest in sustainability across our infrastructure, many of our customers have asked us to help measure the carbon footprint of their AWS workloads—both to understand how moving to AWS reduces their carbon footprint and to report their overall footprint.

Our new customer carbon footprint tool uses simple visualizations to show customers their historical carbon emissions, estimate emissions avoided by using AWS instead of an on-premises data center, and review forecasted emissions based on their current use. The forecast shows how customers’ footprints will change as Amazon stays on path to powering its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years earlier than the original target of 2030, and drives toward net-zero carbon by 2040.
Renewable Energy

We’re on a path to powering our operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Our renewable energy investments help power our data centers, as part of our commitment to reach net-zero carbon across our operations by 2040. Explore our global renewable energy projects using the map below.

To achieve our goal of powering our operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025—five years ahead of our original 2030 target—Amazon contracts for renewable power from utility scale wind and solar projects that add clean energy to the grid. These new renewable projects support hundreds of jobs while providing hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in local communities. We also may choose to support these grids through the purchase of environmental attributes, like Renewable Energy Certificates and Guarantees of Origin, in line with our Renewable Energy Methodology.

As a result, in 2021, the following AWS Regions were powered by over 95% renewable energy:

  • US East (Northern Virginia)
  • GovCloud (US-East)
  • US East (Ohio)
  • US West (Oregon)
  • GovCloud (US-West)
  • US West (Northern California)
  • Canada (Central)
  • Europe (Ireland)
  • Europe (Frankfurt)
  • Europe (London)
  • Europe (Milan)
  • Europe (Paris)
  • Europe (Stockholm)
Reducing Embodied Carbon
In addition to emissions from our energy usage, AWS addresses a wide range of indirect emissions—including those associated with the construction of our data centers.

Steel is one of the largest contributors of embodied carbon in the structure of AWS data centers and we’re lowering these emissions by working with mills using electric arc furnace production processes. Unlike conventional steel produced from primary materials, coal, and gas, our suppliers are using up to 100% recycled content and are powered by electricity only, reducing embodied carbon up to 70%.

Additionally, our design standards now require concrete with a 20% reduction in embodied carbon versus standard concrete for new U.S. data centers, and we’re expanding this requirement globally.
A man in a safety helmet and an orange safety vest stands outside, looking at buildings under construction.
For AWS, operating sustainably also means reducing the amount of water we use to cool our data centers. AWS is committed to being water positive by 2030—that means returning more water to communities and the environment than we use in our operations. To do this, we’re increasing the use of sustainable water sources, improving water use efficiency across our operations, reusing water as much as possible, and supporting water replenishment projects for communities and the environment around the world.
The ASDI seeks to accelerate sustainability research and innovation by minimizing the cost and time required to find and analyze large sustainability datasets. These datasets are publicly available to anyone. ASDI also provides cloud grants to those interested in exploring the use of AWS’ technology and scalable infrastructure to solve big, long-term sustainability challenges with this data.
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