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Environmental sustainability at Google

At Google, our values reflect our belief in 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 since our founding.

In 2016 we marked 10 years of operating as a carbon neutral company and announced that we’ll reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations in 2017. When we committed to being carbon neutral in 2007, we knew that aggressive energy-efficiency initiatives, renewable energy, and carbon offsets would all be critical to our ongoing strategy, and over time we’ve learned and innovated across these areas in ways we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago.

Our Earth Outreach program also recently celebrated its 10th birthday. Launched to give nonprofit groups the resources, tools, and inspiration they need in order to leverage the power of Google Earth and other mapping tools for their causes, Earth Outreach is now combining machine learning and cloud computing to build a living, breathing dashboard of the planet, creating new insights both in local communities and at global scale.

After years of reporting our carbon footprint and publishing information on our sustainability programs, in December 2016 we put our whole story in one place in our first environmental report. This update to that first report is a chance for us to close out 2016, which was a landmark year for our program, and share some of our progress on ongoing efforts. We think there’s a lot to be proud of—but also a lot more important work to do.

We’re more committed than ever to the environment, and we believe that businesses, governments, and citizens all have critical roles to play in ensuring that we have clean air, water, soil, and healthy forests. We’ll continue working hard for a cleaner and more prosperous future for all.

Urs Hölzle
Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure

Performance highlights

The following data summarize key highlights of our environmental initiatives discussed in our environmental report update published in October 2017. 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.

Designing efficient data centers

Less Energy

On average, a Google data center uses 50% less energy than a typical data center.

Computing Power

Compared with five years ago, we now deliver more than 3.5 times as much computing power with the same amount of electrical power.

Landfill Diversion

Six of our operating data centers have achieved 100% landfill diversion, and one of these has also reached Zero Waste to Landfill.

Of servers remanufactured

In 2016, 36% of the servers Google deployed were remanufactured machines.

Advancing renewable energy

Renewable Energy

We’ll achieve 100% renewable energy for our operations in 2017.

Billion In Equity Commitments

Since 2010, we've committed to invest nearly $2.5 billion in renewable energy projects with a total combined capacity of 3.7GW.

Net Emissions

Because of our renewable energy and carbon offset programs, our net operational carbon emissions in 2016 were zero.

Decrease in Carbon Intensity

Over the past five years, our carbon intensity per revenue and our carbon intensity per full-time equivalent employee both decreased by 55%

Creating sustainable workplaces

Million square feet LEED certified

As of the end of 2016, 865,000 square meters (9.3 million square feet) of Google office facilities have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Leed Platinum

As of the end of 2016, 34% of our LEED-certified square footage achieved a Platinum rating and a 54% Gold rating.

Reduction in Potable Water Use

From 2013 to 2016, we reduced potable liters of water used per Googler by 40% at our Bay Area headquarters.

Landfill Diversion

In 2016, we reached an 85% landfill diversion rate in the Bay Area and 78% for our offices globally.

Empowering users with technology

Million Air Pollution Measurements

Through Project Air View, Google Street View cars equipped with air quality equipment made nearly 3 million measurements in the course of a year, creating one of the largest air quality data sets ever published and demonstrating the potential of neighborhood-level air pollution mapping.

Million Rooftops Mapped

Since 2015, Project Sunroof has mapped more than 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.

Energy Savings

Businesses that switch to G Suite products like Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and Meet have reported reductions in IT energy use and carbon emissions by up to 85%.

Emissions Reduction

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.

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