How Green is Google?

Google’s energy usage is now a matter of public record. Electricity usage was reported at 2,259, 998 MWh for 2010. What about the search giant’s carbon footprint? Google said it produced 1.46 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide throughout 2010.

With the sheer number of services it provides and the resulting data produced and stored, we know that Google runs plenty of servers which occupy many data centers. However, Google claims that it only uses about 50 percent of the energy that most other data centers use. Furthermore, it has calculated that the entire company uses only 0.01 per cent of the world’s electricity.

Urs Hoelzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure, blogged: “To provide you with Google products for a month—not just search, but Google+, Gmail, YouTube and everything else we have to offer—our servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours. And, because we’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, even that small amount of energy is offset completely, so the carbon footprint of your life on Google is zero.”

To give a sense on how cloud computing can save energy, Google reminds us that for the energy a single small business uses to host its email locally, approximately 80 businesses could be hosted in the cloud.

As businesses (and Chromebook users) continue to use use Gmail, Google Apps, and Google App Engine, they are not only getting good value and service but also contributing to a greener more eco-friendly environment.

About Cliff Boodoosingh

Cliff Boodoosingh has been writing on Internet-based technology for more than 10 years. At Dow Jones he covered the money markets, Canadian dollar and daily hot stocks. He authored Regional Analysis sections and competitor profiles for business intelligence reports on the mobile/wireless markets at Marcus Evans. He recently moved from managing digital publications and media coverage for the Technology Division at VerticalScope to oversee content development at Rates.ca, a new personal finance portal.
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