Google, the American multinational public corporation providing Internet search, cloud computing, advertising technologies, search engines and other services, has announced that it consumed 2,259,998 megawatt hours of electricity in 2010 and generated 1.46 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. However, company officials note that by purchasing and generating renewable energy, as well as buying high-quality carbon offsets, it has brought its carbon output to zero.
This recent announcement breaks with Google's past which, until recently, has seen the company keep such figures secret. Although the company may be more forthcoming with information these days, major environmental watchdogs aren't impressed.
Along with Twitter and Amazon, Google received an 'F' for transparency in the recent Greenpeace ranking of cloud computing companies.
'Google only publicly acknowledges the existence of seven data centers globally,' Greenpeace said in a statement, 'though informed estimates place Google's fleet in the range of 20 to 30 data centers.'
Greenpeace does acknowledge, however, that Google is taking positive steps to improve the impact of its energy supply by making investments in and signing purchase agreements with companies offering renewable power.
The company's headquarters, located in Mountain View, California, for example, feature solar panels that produce 3 million kilowatt hours a year. Google has also taken nearly 2,000 cars off the road through its shuttle program and its on-site electric vehicle charging stations. It also has 4.5 million square feet of building space set to achieve LEED status.
Without such efficiency measures, Google says that its footprint would have been about twice as big last year.