Tag Archives: Google Green

Planting some green this Earth Day

Cross-posted on the Lat Long and Google Green blogs

Since 1970, people all over the world have recognized April 22 as Earth Day, an opportunity to appreciate and generate awareness about the natural environment. Here at Google we strive to do our part to make sure our planet is healthy for years to come. From investing in renewable energy to building products that help people be greener in their own lives, we’re building a better web that’s better for the environment.

Today, we’re celebrating Earth Day in a variety of ways. The coming of spring inspired us to grow our annual Earth Day doodle right in our backyard. We planted seeds on a balcony at our Mountain View headquarters and watched them grow into what you see today. We’re also partnering with Friends of the Urban Forest to help make San Francisco schools a little greener.

To help you start a garden of your own, we’ve put together an Earth Day resource page. Explore community gardens and farmers’ markets on our interactive map, get discounted seeds to plant flowers, herbs and vegetables in your own backyard and connect with other gardeners for planting tips and inspiration.

We hope you find these resources useful and enjoy gardening as much as we do. On our Mountain View, Calif. campus, we have community gardens where Googlers can grow and harvest their choice of herbs and vegetables. Company-wide, we focus on getting organic, locally-grown produce for our cafes. We purchase food directly from farms near our campuses, and learn about how our suppliers raise, farm and harvest their food—all to ensure that we’re eating sustainably and being good to the environment.

We hope this Earth Day you are inspired to add a little green to the planet. Earth Day may only be a single day, but the actions we take can last for years to come.

Make your own online scrapbook with 2011 green search trends

Last week we unveiled this year’s Zeitgeist, including the fastest rising searches in 2011. Those of us on the Google Green team were pleased that the search trends include several popular searches related to the environment (as you can see from the highlights video). So we created the Green Scrapbook to help you explore these green trends, choose your favorites, and reveal videos and surprising facts about them. As you click around, you create your very own collection of what green meant to you this year, which you can personalize with your name and share with your friends.

People have already started creating and sharing their Green Scrapbook. For example, Adam created one showcasing a video of a tapir (Belize’s endangered “mountain cow”) and highlighting what an LED light is. I created my scrapbook, too, where I could tell people about the microorganisms that light up Puerto Rico’s famous “bioluminescent bay.” I also let people know that if I could win an eco-friendly car, I’d choose a Tesla (there’s still time to get me one for Christmas!).

Once you complete your own scrapbook, you can share it on Google+ or anywhere you’d like by grabbing the unique URL to your scrapbook with the “get URL” link at the top right.

We’re working hard to create a better web that’s also better for the environment. We hope the Green Scrapbook sparks conversation and gets people thinking about all the ways they can make greener choices in their lives—whether it’s about the merits of rooftop [solar energy], or prompting people to think about [garbage islands] and then reach for a [reusable water bottle].

How our cloud does more with less

We’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of energy our services use. In fact, to provide you with Google products for a month—not just search, but Google+, Gmail, YouTube and everything else we have to offer—our servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours. And, because we’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, even that small amount of energy is offset completely, so the carbon footprint of your life on Google is zero.

We’ve learned a lot in the process of reducing our environmental impact, so we’ve added a new section called “The Big Picture” to our Google Green site with numbers on our annual energy use and carbon footprint.

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.

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.

But we’re not stopping there. By investing hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy projects and companies, we’re helping to create 1.7 GW of renewable power. That’s the same amount of energy used to power over 350,000 homes, and far more than what our operations consume.

Finally, our products can help people reduce their own carbon footprints. The study (PDF) we released yesterday on Gmail is just one example of how cloud-based services can be much more energy efficient than locally hosted services helping businesses cut their electricity bills.

Visit our Google Green site to find out more.