03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Here Comes the Sun...When?

As the Solar Decathlon teams compete in Washington D.C. this week to create the greenest structure possible, I find myself taking measure of my industry. We have a ways to go. The winning team's solar dream house will likely source 100 percent of its energy from clean, renewable resources. So do eight of Dell's facilities in the U.S. and Europe -- some three million square feet, or 52 football fields of space -- and I'm proud of that achievement. We aspire to be 100 percent green-powered eventually, but for now, the solar decathletes have us beat.

As Dell's director of global environment, health and safety, it's my job to find ways to green our operations -- to ensure our facilities are constantly evolving and implementing the most environmentally-responsible standards possible. Dell now sources more than 26 percent of our overall power globally from green resources like wind and solar. We aim to drive that to 40 percent by 2015, and I'm confident that our three-part strategy will get us there.

First, Dell works to operate as efficiently as possible. Our carbon intensity, which is a measure of CO2 in relation to revenue, is among the lowest in the Global 500 and less than half that of our closest competitor in the tech industry. Second, Dell consumes renewable energy wherever possible. The EPA ranked us among the top five in its latest list of companies purchasing renewable energy. And finally, we offset our remaining impact by purchasing credible, third-party-verified renewable energy credits. It's this investment that helped Dell become the only company in the computer industry to achieve operational carbon neutrality (in August 2008, five months ahead of our goal).

While I appreciate that distinction, I don't want it to last.

We encourage our peers to join us in accelerating the rate at which renewable energy is leveraged. Reducing our impact isn't about individual efforts and our drive to be recognized for them; it's about our industry's opportunity -- more than that, our industry's responsibility -- to help lead the way to a green economy. In this case, we can learn a little something from those college kids in D.C.