Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Google Green: Leading By Example

Google claims it is the leading private purchaser of renewable energy in the world. This is not an idle boast by the tech giant. Google has committed to buy 2.5 Gigawatts of renewable energy to make it 100% green, and invest a further $2.5 billion in making green energy more accessible for US homes. That is like taking 1 million cars off the road.

This push is largest in Europe where Google has seven agreements to power up its data centers. By the end of 2018 Google is looking to add 236MW of energy to the present 500 MW. This investment has also been seen in the US, where Google has invested in a 114 MW wind power farm, and Chile where it has invested in a solar power farm.

Economic sense
Marc Oman, Google’s head of Global Infrastructure, says that the decision to go green is based on better economic sense as well as concern for the earth’s sustainability. Renewable energy does not fluctuate unlike fossil fuels. In the long term, fossil energy will be become increasingly expensive as the resources dwindle. Google reasons that investing in green energy today will help to avoid more expensive costs in the future.

Google has also led in efficient use of energy. Data centers are designed to use 50% less energy than conventional data centers. The firm shuttles its 4500+ employees on its own shuttle buses named “Google Fleet,” which takes 3000+ vehicles off the road.

There is a serious recycling culture at Google. They do not buy new equipment if the outdated equipment can be recycled. Whatever cannot be recycled is repurposed and put to better use in the outside world.

Global push
A 2010 study by Buck Consultants, a subsidiary of Xerox, showed that more US companies are making an effort to go green. 69% of 120 US organizations interviewed said that they had implemented one form of energy efficiency.

The biggest reasons for going green are creating community goodwill and reduced costs. 90% of these businesses realized cost savings: 68% on heating and cooling and 70% on electricity. Clearly the better returns are making businesses consider going green a good investment.

Implementing green initiatives is still a challenge for many businesses. Reasons given include high initial costs, inadequate skills to do it, and greening not being an organizational priority.

Experts say that businesses that invest in green energy like Google also encourage more innovation and investment in renewable energy. Green tech startups will be the biggest beneficiaries of this global greening initiative as demand for renewable energy rises.