Microsoft launched a new software program on Monday that aims to help midsize businesses to capture and analyze energy consumption data and convert it into the amount of greenhouse gas emissions their company produces.

The move is a step that the software giant is doing to promote environmentally sustainable business practices, Microsoft said.

The tool, which is an add-on to Microsoft's Dynamics AX applications, is the Environmental Sustainability Dashboard. It works by letting users input their utility bill information, which generates a read-out of historical trends and translates those figures into how much greenhouse gases a company produces in its operations. It also pinpoints ways to cut energy consumption and costs.

The impetus behind this is that we continue to see a greater intersection between energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. We're creating software tools and services that help customers save resources--energy, money--and to reduce their greenhouse gases, said Robert Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft.

The tool is made for midsize business who usually can't afford to hire an auditor for their environmental performance. It is available for free download starting today for users of the 2009 version of Dynamics.