INTERNET SEARCH GIANT Google has revealed its energy footprint for the first time, and we doubt that it could buy its sandals off the shelf.
It would not take a genius to speculate that the firm uses a lot of energy, but it's very huge indeed. Headline grabbing trivia include the fact that it could power Salt Lake City, Utah.
According to the New York Times, Google's datacentres draw a continuous 260 million Watts or, if you prefer, around a quarter of the output of the average nuclear power plant.
This is fine though, as while Google uses a large amount of electricity, it stops its users from using other fuel, like petrol.
According to the company you should remember how much money is saved when, for example, someone does not drive to a library to look for information, but instead searches for it online. The same could be said for online shopping, perhaps.
"The numbers] look big in the small context," said Urs Hoelzle, Google's SVP for technical infrastructure in an interview with the New York Times.
The amount of power that individuals use is also small when looked at in perspective, according to the report, and consumption is reckoned to be around 180 Watt-hours a month, equal to running a light bulb for three hours.
Other numbers are described in fun terms, and Google reckons that running Gmail for a year, per user, is the equivalent to drinking a bottle of wine, sticking a note in it and tossing it into the sea, while performing 100 searches is the same as running a 60W lightbulb for 28 minutes.
Google also makes an effort to improve the way its buildings use energy and has cut down on car numbers by offering its workers shuttle services to use between their homes and offices. It added that it also offsets its carbon through "very high quality" outlets, such as livestock farms.
In a blog post Hoelzle said that Google is very close to completely offsetting is carbon emissions thanks to these and other novel methods.
"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. Our newest facility in Hamina, Finland, opening this weekend, uses a unique seawater cooling system that requires very little electricity," he explained.
"Whenever possible, we use renewable energy. We have a large solar panel installation at our Mountain View campus, and we've purchased the output of two wind farms to power our data centers. For the greenhouse gas emissions we can't eliminate, we purchase high-quality carbon offsets." µ
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