According to Google, the company's data centers used 260 megawatt-hours of electricity in 2010.
When you read the headline above, you probably have the immediate reaction: Wow that is a bunch of electricity. And that initial assessment is correct, but there is more to the story than just the 2.6 million megawatts. Google is well aware of its extreme power requirements and the company has taken steps to mitigate the impact.
In a blog post on ZDNet, Heather Clancy reports that Google has invested in renewable energy technologies which produce about 1.7 gigawatts of power capacity. That capacity, coupled with its carbon offset purchases, means Google is virtually carbon-neutral.
You can read about Google's efforts to mitigate its carbon footprint on its Google Green site.
Whether you accept Google's power use data and its efforts to reduce the environmental impact or not, there is one clear concept to remember when it comes to energy use of any kind: inefficiency increases cost. Even if your data center is one 10-year old PC running Windows XP, you want to use power in the most efficient way you can. Doing so will not only help reduce your impact on the environment; it will also reduce your cost of operations.
With that in mind, I am curious how your organization approaches power use reduction. Does your organization actively monitor the power used by its data center? Have you opted to let another company manage your data center? Are you outsourcing your data center in an effort to reduce the cost of your power consumption?
- Google Details, and Defends, Its Use of Electricity (New York Times)
- Google reveals energy use to show search is green (Associated Press)
- Google discloses carbon footprint for the first time (The Guardian - UK)