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.
Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure
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.
On average, a Google data center uses 50% less energy than a typical data center.
Compared with five years ago, we now deliver more than 3.5 times as much computing power with the same amount of electrical power.
Six of our operating data centers have achieved 100% landfill diversion, and one of these has also reached Zero Waste to Landfill.
In 2016, 36% of the servers Google deployed were remanufactured machines.
We’ll achieve 100% renewable energy for our operations in 2017.
Since 2010, we've committed to invest nearly $2.5 billion in renewable energy projects with a total combined capacity of 3.7GW.
Because of our renewable energy and carbon offset programs, our net operational carbon emissions in 2016 were zero.
Over the past five years, our carbon intensity per revenue and our carbon intensity per full-time equivalent employee both decreased by 55%
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.
As of the end of 2016, 34% of our LEED-certified square footage achieved a Platinum rating and a 54% Gold rating.
From 2013 to 2016, we reduced potable liters of water used per Googler by 40% at our Bay Area headquarters.
In 2016, we reached an 85% landfill diversion rate in the Bay Area and 78% for our offices globally.
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.
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.
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%.
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.