Google’s Environmental Report
At Google, our values reflect the fundamental importance of inclusion, openness, science, and commitment to the environment. Operating our business in an environmentally sustainable way has been a core value from the beginning.
Shortly after I joined the company, we moved to our Mountain View office in California (“Building Zero”). Our desks were made of repurposed materials — simple wooden planks on tripods. Larry and Sergey, Google’s founders, made sure the paints and carpets were free of harmful chemicals. Through many other efforts over subsequent years, we improved Google’s environmental performance as our company grew.
Eighteen years later, environmental sustainability is still our touchstone. We’ve been carbon neutral since 2007. Our Geo team is using machine learning and cloud computing to build a living, breathing dashboard for the planet. And in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations — a landmark moment for our company that also makes good business sense; over the long term, we gain visibility into our electricity expenses and cost-competitive rates.
While we’ve reported our carbon footprint and published information on our sustainability programs for many years in white papers, blog posts, and on our website, we haven’t put it all together until now. This report is a chance for us to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far, the lessons we’ve learned along the way, and the opportunities and challenges we see ahead. We hope you’re as excited as we are to see all our work in one place.
We’re more committed to the environment than ever and believe that businesses, governments, and citizens all have critical roles to play to ensure that we all have clean air, water, and soil, as well as healthy forests. Ultimately, we want Google to provide a platform for our users to change the world. We’ve only just begun.
Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure
The following data summarize key highlights of our environmental initiatives discussed in our environmental report published in December 2016. They provide a snapshot of our performance and together demonstrate how we’re strengthening our business by reducing the environmental impact of our operations and working to empower people everywhere to live more sustainably.
On average, a Google data center uses 50% less energy than a typical data center.
Compared with five years ago, we can now deliver more than 3.5 times as much computing power with the same amount of electrical power.
In total, six of our operating data centers have achieved 100% landfill diversion, and one of these has reached Zero Waste to Landfill.
In 2015, 52% of the components we used for machine upgrades in our data centers were refurbished inventory.
We will achieve 100% renewable energy for our operations in 2017.
We've committed to invest a total of 2.5 billion in renewable energy projects with a total combined capacity of 3.7 GW.
Google has been carbon neutral since 2007.
From 2009 to 2015, our carbon intensity per revenue (metric tonnes Scope 1 and 2 CO2e/million US$) and per full-time equivalent employee both decreased by more than 50%.
To date, 854,000 square meters (9.2 million square feet) of Google office facilities have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
In 2015, 31% of our LEED-certified square footage achieved a Platinum rating and 58% received a Gold rating.
From 2013 to 2015, we reduced potable liters of water used per Googler by 30% at our Bay Area headquarters.
In 2015, we reached an 86% landfill diversion rate in the Bay Area and 78% for our offices globally.
Global Forest Watch, powered by Google Earth Engine, monitors 100% of the planet’s tropical rainforests and provides timely and precise status information, including near-real-time alerts showing recent suspected tree cover loss.
To date, Project Sunroof has mapped over 43 million U.S. rooftops in 42 states. More than 2 million users have accessed the tool to make informed decisions about solar panel installation.
Businesses that switch to G Suite products like Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and Hangouts have reduced IT energy use and carbon emissions by 65% to 85%.
A business using Gmail can reduce the GHG emissions impact of its email service by up to 98% compared with running email on local servers.