Carbon Footprint Smackdown: One Cheeseburger Equals 15K Google Searches - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
5/11/2009
06:31 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Faster, More Effective Response With Threat Intelligence & Orchestration Playboo
Aug 31, 2017
Finding ways to increase speed, accuracy, and efficiency when responding to threats should be the ...Read More>>

Carbon Footprint Smackdown: One Cheeseburger Equals 15K Google Searches

Ever keen to be seen as green, Google on Monday invited the public to compare the environmental damage caused by searching the Internet with the planetary peril of cheeseburgers, among other things.

Ever keen to be seen as green, Google on Monday invited the public to compare the environmental damage caused by searching the Internet with the planetary peril of cheeseburgers, among other things.In a post on the Official Google Blog, Urs Hölzle, SVP of operations for Google, said that a single Google search uses about 1 kJ of energy and emits about 0.2 grams of carbon dioxide. By way of comparison, he noted that the amount of CO2 emitted from the production of single cheeseburger is 15,000 greater than the C02 arising from a single Google search.

Hölzle offered this handy chart for those eager to judge Google's place on the continuum of environmental sin:

ActivityGoogle Searches
CO2 emissions of an average daily newspaper (PDF) (100% recycled paper) 850
A glass of orange juice1,050
One load of dishes in an EnergyStar dishwasher (PDF)
5,100
A five mile trip in the average U.S. automobile10,000
A cheeseburger15,000
Electricity consumed by the average U.S. household in one month3,100,000

There's a bit of irony in Hölzle's decision to highlight the fact that producing a newspaper requires as much energy as 850 Google searches. Google has been fairly vocal about its desire to save the newspaper industry, but figures like that suggest the planet would be better off without news printed on paper.

But never mind that. The point is that Google does a pretty good job trying to operate efficiently. And why not? Efficiency and profit go hand-in-hand when operating at Google's scale.

The point is also that information and communication technology, or ICT, pay for themselves by eliminating more carbon-intensive activities.

"'Virtual' tools like email, video-conferencing, and search engines replace more carbon-intensive activities like snail mail, business travel, and driving," says Hölzle.

If only Google searches were as satisfying as cheeseburgers.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll