Google to go carbon neutral by 2008

The search giant has committed to becoming more environmentally friendly and has enlisted the help of a green group to meet its target.The company has partnered with international organisation The Climate Group in order to reduce its impact on the environment and intends to become carbon neutral by the start of next year.

The search giant has committed to becoming more environmentally friendly and has enlisted the help of a green group to meet its target.

The company has partnered with international organisation The Climate Group in order to reduce its impact on the environment and intends to become carbon neutral by the start of next year.

The pair will use a three pronged approach to turning Google carbon neutral: cutting the company's energy consumption, making greater use of renewable energy and offsetting any additional carbon consumption through accredited schemes.

According to The Climate Group, Google has already set up solar panels on its Mountain View headquarters generating 1.6MW and intends to expand the program to create 50MW of energy -- enough energy to power 50,000 homes.

According to Rupert Posner, Australian director of The Climate Group, the impact of Google's environmental drive will be wide-reaching.

"The exciting thing about Google is its high profile -- everyone who switches on a computer knows them," he told ZDNet Australia. As well as the impact on Google's own carbon consumption, "they'll have a cascading effect with what they're doing," he added.

As well as cutting carbon emissions, Google will save money, Posner said.

Google senior operations VP, Urs Hölzle, at the policy's recent launch in Paris said: "Our primary use of energy is in our datacentres." The search company reckons its datacentres already use half the power of conventional centres, thanks to a commitment to efficient power supply design and evaporative cooling rather than air conditioning. Any remaining deficiency will be made up through cleaner energy sources, stringent planning for new centres and monitored offsetting activities.

"We want to be more than carbon neutral. We hope we will have a positive impact on the larger environment," Hölzle said.

The drive to be green has also reached into other prominent technology companies. News Corp made a commitment earlier this year to achieve carbon neural status by 2010 and Linux developers are already working on reducing the power consumption of the open source operating system.

Angus Kidman contributed to this report

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