Microsoft opened a new office building at the end of March in Redmond, Washington. It's a LEED Platinum-certified building and features a 100% electric food hall, a first for Microsoft, and a fantastic step as the company has the goal of being carbon negative by 2030.
Various chefs worked across the 13,200 square feet of all-electric cooking space at nine custom eateries, equipped to prepare more than 1,000 meals a day without lighting a single flame.
Katie Ross, global real estate sustainability lead for Microsoft, says commercial kitchens use five times more energy than an office building, and when she initially started thinking about switching to electricity over five years ago, facing the complex task of replacing equipment that was 80% gas.
"If you're trying to electrify an entire building, and you've done the mechanical systems, pulling out gas from kitchens is kind of the last step, and it's the hardest," says Ross.
In a competitive tech landscape, even one that is partially hybrid, you still need to feed hungry software engineers at the office, and Microsoft prides itself on the culture it's created around food and its dining experiences.
Ultimately, Microsoft hopes its transition is one that points others in a better direction. They're eager to share their learnings and hope it will carry across the culinary industry and society.