Google reveals its carbon footprint, promotes wind energy and solar power

Currently, very little of the world’s power is from renewables like wind turbines and solar energy. We’re working on changing that by buying electricity directly from wind farms near our data centers. We get clean energy at competitive prices, the wind farm owners get the money they need to finance new clean energy facilities and together we make the grid a little bit greener."

Google has announced its carbon footprint for the first time, revealing it could power almost 200,000 homes with the energy it uses. Google’s vast world-wide network of offices and data centres used 1.9bn kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2010, compared to 10,896kWh for the average American household.

The California-based company released the figure after years of pressure from environmental groups such as Greenpeace, who have accused web firms of fuelling an ‘addiction to dirty energy technologies’.

Google says it has has a carbon footprint of 1.5m tonnes, the same as the United Nations and slightly higher than the amount generated by the entire seven million population of Laos.

Google also disclosed information about the energy used by YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps, some of the internet’s most popular tools.

Green engineering manager David Jacobwitz said in a blog Gmail was ‘almost 80 times more energy efficient’ for businesses than running an in-house email service.

He also claimed: ‘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.’ Greenpeace now classifies Google as a ‘leader’ on climate change after it adopted a range of green policies.

It has plans to buy 100 megawatts of wind power and has signed up to The Climate Group’s programme for sustainability.