Google measures carbon footprint 'per user' for greater transparency

Google has estimated its carbon footprint per user and says it is equivalent, on a monthly basis, to driving a car for one mile.

The company believes that in serving an average user, it emits 8g of carbon per day. In making such a calculation, it is assumed that an active Google user is someone who does 25 searches, watches 60 minutes of YouTube a day, has a Gmail account and uses other Google services.

The figures were revealed by the company's self-termed 'Carbon Czarina' Jolanka Nickerman on a recent Google blog post.

She said that for the fourth year in a row, Google was emitting less carbon per million dollars of revenue.

"This means that our footprint is growing more slowly than our business because we're able to get more done with each gram of carbon we emit," she explained, adding that over the past year, the company has continued to use more renewable energy, squeezed more efficiency out of its operations and helped customers reduce their own IT footprint.

In 2012 the company says it emitted 1.5 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, before purchasing carbon offsets to reduce that footprint to zero.

Its total carbon emissions decreased 9% compared to the previous year as green power purchases are now being deducted from the overall carbon footprint in line with Carbon Disclosure Project guidelines.

"For transparency's sake, we're also reporting our footprint without those purchases ... we urge others to do the same," Nickerman said.

Google claims to have been carbon-neutral for six years and is now concentrating efforts on helping others to reduce their carbon footprint through platforms such as cloud computing.

"As we continue to drive down our emissions, we're encouraged that our efficiency gains are translating into lower emissions for our users," Nickerman noted.

Maxine Perella


| Google


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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