TreeHugger Trivia: Google's Carbon Footprint and Electricity Consumption


Photo credit: espensorvik via Flickr/Creative Commons/BY

We all know Google as the giant Internet company that serves the world billions of pages of search results, YouTube videos, email messages, and lots more, every single day around the globe. All of that computing, powered by farms of servers in data centers all around the world, occupies a lot of space in the cloud and uses a lot of electricity. Now, thanks to a report released this week, the company knows how much electricity it used in 2010, and the resulting carbon footprint.

Any guesses? Hit the jump to see what all those searches for wish you were here lyrics and sonic the hedgehog add up to.So, as it turns out, Google's 2010 electricity consumption was 2,259,998 MWh, which results in 1,457,982 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

That's no trivial number, though it adds up to enough electricity to power about 41 Empire State Buildings, and just a tad more than the carbon footprint of the country of Togo, though a little bit less than the country of Guyana.

Per user, that breaks down to about 1.46 kg CO2e per year, or the same amount of carbon dioxide created by burning 0.16 gallons of unleaded gasoline. In a car that gets 25 miles per gallon, that'll get you about 4 miles.

In any case, Google is quick to point out that they offset their carbon footprint to zero via what they call very high quality carbon offsets. Learn more about Google's green efforts as a company and wow your friends with your new trivia knowledge.

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