Google reveals that it chomped over 2 billion kilowatt hours of energy in 2010, and plans to source 35 percent of its energy use from clean power next year.
Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) search, Gmail, YouTube, Google+
and other Web services use less energy per user than a light left on for 3
hours, according to the search engine provider, which on Sept. 8 provided for the first time
detailed statistics on its energy use.
The move, accompanied by a new
Google Green Website
, is designed to provide more transparency around not only
Google's power consumption, but the energy savings associated with its clean
Google consumed over 2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) worth of energy in 2010
Moreover, the company plans to source 35 percent of its electricity use from
clean power by 2012 through a combination of buying clean power directly and
the clean power sources of the utilities it buys power from.
Google has invested some $800 million in solar and wind power
sources that will
create 1.7 gigawatts of renewable energy, which could power more than 350,000 homes.
Google also revealed that the energy used to support its
Web services, which run in the cloud and are provisioned to users from data
centers all over the world, generated 1.46 million metric tons of carbon dioxide,
which could have been much greater.
"Without efficiency measures in our data centers our
footprint would have been about twice as big. By purchasing and generating
renewable energy, as well as buying high-quality carbon offsets, we bring our
carbon impact to zero," the company explained on its Green Website
Calculating energy consumption can be a dolorous task,
but Google tried to make it fun. For example, the company said it takes more
energy to send a message in a bottle than it does to use Gmail for a year, provided
one counts the energy used to make the bottle and the wine consumed.
What about search, which uses only 0.0004 kWh of energy
to retrieve the average search query? The energy required to do 100 Google.com searches
is equivalent to 1 hour's use of a 30-watt laptop, 28 minutes of a 60-watt
bulb burning or producing 1.5 tablespoons of orange juice.
Or try this one: Google's servers required to play 1
minute of YouTube consume about 0.0002 kWh of energy. To give folks an idea of
what that means on a more practical level, it takes about 8 seconds for the
human body to burn off that same amount.
An here's another one: "You'd have to watch YouTube
for three straight days for our servers to consume the amount of energy
required to manufacture, package and ship a single DVD," explained David
Jacobowitz, program manager for green engineering and operation.
How does Google keep a relatively low energy consumption
profile and carbon footprint? The company has been intensely focused on
building the most efficient data centers in the world.
For example, a new data center in Hamina, Finland, uses a
unique seawater cooling system that consumes little electricity. At the
Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., the company has a massive solar panel