“The carbon footprint of your life on Google is zero.” It may be hard to believe, we know, but the search giant announced for the first time today that it is completely carbon neutral and has been since 2007. In a blog post they detailed how the road to this announcement was paved with many different actions — from installing solar panels at their headquarters, to purchasing large amounts of wind energy and reducing as much of the energy that their employees use as they can. Google is everywhere these days — giving you directions, mapping the world, sending your e-mail — and perhaps that’s a good thing if they’re really as low-impact as they say.
“We started the process of getting to zero by making sure our operations use as little energy as possible. For the last decade, energy use has been an obsession. We’ve designed and built some of the most efficient servers and data centers in the world—using half the electricity of a typical data center,” said Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure in a blog post about the milestone.
Hoelzle noted a new achievement at a new facility in Hamina, Finland where energy use was slashed by using a technologically advanced seawater cooling system. The company notes that your life on Google uses less energy in a month than leaving a lightbulb on for three hours. That’s pretty impressive when you think of the services they offer — search, Gmail, YouTube, Google+ — and if that energy isn’t being produced renewably already, the company offsets it after the fact. Four years of carbon neutrality for one of the world’s largest companies — 92nd on the Fortune 500 list — is a big achievement.