Google’s green energy usage exposed

Search giant Google has revealed how much power its products such as Gmail, Youtube, Google+ and its cloud services consume.

Urs Hoelzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure said, “Google products for a month…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.”

On the Google Green website, a new section called “The Big Picture” has been added to offer further insight into how Google saves energy in its daily operations. Google provides examples:

  • 100 search queries at the Google Data centre consumes the same levels of power as a 60 watt light bulb turned on for 30 minutes.
  • Emptying a bottle of wine, writing a message, sticking it in and throwing it into the sea equates to the same power output required for a year of Gmail services.
  • Producing a DVD (making, packing and shipping it to the consumer) is the same energy output as three days of YouTube streaming videos.

Hoelzle continues, “For the last decade, energy use has been an obsession. We’ve designed and built some of the most efficient servers and data centres in the world; using half the electricity of a typical data centre.”

At the Google base in Mountain View California, an immense solar panel array has been installed. It has even created a US$280 million solar panel fund in order to assist in future rooftop installations.

This investment in clean energy will assist in providing up to 1.7 gigawatts in renewable power. This is the same levels of energy used to power 350 000 home and countless businesses according to Google. The full results of the green energy study can be found here.

Since at least 2009, Google and its chief rival for internet dominance Facebook have increasingly been attempting to build up their green credentials. The steps which have been taken largely centre around the streamlining of data servers and power distribution.



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