Google announced on Thursday that it continuously
consumes enough electricity to power 200,000 homes, but it says that it has
a zero carbon footprint.
"We’ve worked hard to reduce the amount
of energy our services use. In fact, 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," Urs Hoelzle, senior vice
president, Technical Infrastructure, said in
a blog post.
"Our products can help people reduce their own carbon footprints. The
study (pdf) we released yesterday on Gmail is just one example of how
cloud-based services can be much more energy efficient than locally hosted
services helping businesses cut their electricity bills."
The New York Times says every time a person runs
a Google search, watches a YouTube video or sends a message through Gmail, the
company’s data centers full of computers use electricity. Those data centers
around the world continuously draw almost 260m watts - - about a quarter
of the output of a nuclear power plant.
Google said that an average search uses 0.3
watt-hours of electricity and when multiplied by Google’s estimate of more than
a billion searches a day, it amounts to 12.5m watts of Google’s 260-million-watt
The rest of the consumption is by Google’s other
services, including YouTube.
Google argues that the world is a greener place
because people use less energy as a result of the billions of operations carried
out in Google data centers. Google says people should consider things like the
amount of petrol saved when someone conducts a Google search rather than, say,
drives to the library. “They look big in the small context,” Urs Hoelzle
Google Green - - the Big Picture