Close-up, aerial view of a solar panels collecting solar rays Lone windmill in a field against a sunset sky

Google Environmental Report 2019

Google has been carbon neutral for over a decade and in 2018, we matched 100% of the electricity consumption of our global operations with renewable energy for the second consecutive year.

View full PDF(opens in a new window)

The path to a cleaner, healthier future begins with the small decisions we make each day. That’s why we strive to build sustainability into everything we do. We’re raising the bar in making smart use of Earth’s resources, expecting the highest ethical standards throughout our supply chain, and creating products with people and the planet in mind. We’re also constantly looking for ways to have a positive environmental impact and be even more responsible in our use of energy, water, and other natural resources—and we want to help others to do the same.

This report contains data and information as of December 31, 2018.

Close-up, aerial view of a solar panels collecting solar rays
Wind mill

Efficient data centers help us better serve our users, in a more sustainable way.

For more than a decade, we’ve worked to make Google data centers some of the most efficient in the world, improving their environmental performance even as demand for our products has dramatically risen. We’ve done this by designing, building, and operating each one to maximize efficient use of energy, water, and materials.

Squeezing more out of every watt.

To reduce energy use, we strive to build the world’s most energy-efficient computing network by squeezing more out of every watt of power we consume.

And our efforts have paid off: on average, a Google data center is twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center. One aspect of our efficient designs is PUE.

Learn more about our data center efficiency (opens in a new window)

Average power usage effectiveness (PUE) for all data centers
  • Trailing 12-month PUE
  • Quarterly PUE
PUE
  • 1.26
  • 1.22
  • 1.18
  • 1.14
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • These peaks happen in the summertime when additional energy is needed to cool the data centers.

  • Our fleet-wide PUE has stayed at or below 1.12 since 2013.

    In 2018, the average annual PUE for our global fleet of data centers was 1.11, compared with the industry average of 1.67—meaning our data centers use nearly six times less overhead energy.

  • The data center industry uses the measurement PUE, or power usage effectiveness, to measure efficiency. A PUE of 2.0 means that for every watt of IT power, an additional watt is consumed to cool and distribute power to the IT equipment. A PUE closer to 1.0 means nearly all of the energy is used for computing.

  • 1.11
Average power usage effectiveness (PUE) for all data centers
  • Trailing 12-month PUE
  • Quarterly PUE
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
PUE
  • 1.26
  • 1.22
  • 1.18
  • 1.14
  • These peaks happen in the summertime when additional energy is needed to cool the data centers.

  • Our fleet-wide PUE has stayed at or below 1.12 since 2013.

    In 2018, the average annual PUE for our global fleet of data centers was 1.11, compared with the industry average of 1.67—meaning our data centers use nearly six times less overhead energy.

  • The data center industry uses the measurement PUE, or power usage effectiveness, to measure efficiency. A PUE of 2.0 means that for every watt of IT power, an additional watt is consumed to cool and distribute power to the IT equipment. A PUE closer to 1.0 means nearly all of the energy is used for computing.

  • 1.11
Server rack in a Google data center
A male worker in a server room. looking down, lifting up a hatch in the floor

Certifiably smart energy management.

In 2013, Google became the first company in North America to achieve a multi-site ISO 50001 energy management system certification. In 2018, our ISO certification (which verifies we’re working to continually improve our energy efficiency) covered 12 of our 15 Google-owned and -operated data centers, representing more than 91% of our IT energy use.

Helping our hardware live a long, productive life.

We’re committed to achieving Zero Waste to Landfill for our data center operations. We’re working towards this by embedding circular economy principles into our server management processes—doing things like reusing materials multiple times, refurbishing and remanufacturing hardware, reducing the amount of waste we generate, and finding better disposal options—like recycling and reselling.

In 2018, we diverted 87% of waste from our global data center operations away from landfills.

Learn more about our Zero Waste to Landfill goal Learn more about our Circular Google strategy
Chart of Google's circular economy
  1. Google's Data Centers
  2. Recycle
  3. Refurbish
  4. Reuse
AI takes Google data center efficiency to another level

Spotlight story

AI takes Google data center efficiency to another level

In 2016, we jointly developed an AI-powered recommendation system to improve the energy efficiency of Google’s data centers. Now, our AI system is directly controlling data center cooling, and safely delivering energy savings in multiple Google data centers.

Accelerating the transition to carbon-free energy.

We’ve made it a top priority not only to become more energy efficient, but also to ensure that the energy we purchase comes from clean sources such as renewables. In 2018, we matched 100% of the electricity consumption of our global operations with renewable energy for the second year in a row. Our support for clean energy goes hand in hand with reducing our carbon footprint. By improving the efficiency of our operations and buying both renewable power and high-quality carbon offsets, we’ve been carbon neutral since 2007. We've set a long-term goal to power our operations with carbon-free energy, 24x7, 365 days a year.

  • Aerial view of a snaking green river through a tan desert

    2007

    We committed to carbon neutrality and purchased enough carbon offsets to bring our net annual emissions to zero for the first time.

    Overhead view of some of the buildings making up Google's Mountain View campus A man and a woman riding green and yellow Google bikes on Google's campus

    Our Bay Area headquarters installed a 1.6 megawatt (MW) rooftop solar installation—the largest corporate solar array at the time.

  • Aerial view of the green and brown farms at the Story County II Iowa windfarm

    2010

    We made our first purchase of renewable energy for our operations by signing a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Story County II wind farm in Iowa.

    Aerial view of the Pearl Garden wind farm in North Dakota Solar panels collecting sunlight in a desert

    We also began contributing to growing the clean energy market by making our first renewable energy equity investment with a $39 million commitment to the 170 MW Peace Garden wind farm in North Dakota.

  • Elevated view of wind turbines in green rolling hills

    2014

    We surpassed a cumulative total of 1 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy purchased for our operations.

  • Solar panel farm in the desert framed against a background of mountains Close-up, aerial view of a wind turbine

    2015

    Our cumulative commitments reached $2.5 billion in renewable energy equity investments.

  • Elevated view of wind turbines in green rolling hills

    2016

    We signed PPAs for 564 MW of renewable energy, bringing us to a cumulative total of 20 PPAs for more than 2.6 GW of renewable energy.

  • Close-up, aerial view of a solar panels collecting solar rays Solar panels collecting solar rays

    2017

    We reached 10 consecutive years of carbon neutrality and had purchased enough renewable energy in 2017 to match 100% of our global consumption for operations.

  • Renewable energy

    2018

    We’ve been carbon neutral for 12 years and we purchased enough renewable energy in 2018 to match 100% of our global electricity consumption for the second year in a row.

Twelve years ago, we became carbon neutral —in collaboration with great partners.

Over the last decade, we’ve partnered with more than 40 carbon offset projects to offset more than 19 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Learn more about our carbon offsets program(opens in a new window)
1
9
M

Metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions offset

Outside photo of the Google Data Center in Taiwan

Spotlight story

The Internet is 24x7—carbon-free energy should be too

We want to get to a point where each Google facility is matched—around the clock—with local carbon-free power, and we want to green the grid for everyone else too.

Creating sustainable workplaces that are good for people and the planet.

When creating sustainable workplaces, we focus on people, healthy materials, and the local environments of the places where we operate.

Creating sustainable workplaces

By the end of 2018, over 1.2 million square meters (13 million square feet) of Google office facilities had achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Learn more about healthy materials(opens in a new window)

Cumulative LEED-certified office space
  • Platinum
  • Gold
  • Silver
M2
  • 1.2M
  • 1.0M
  • 0.8M
  • 0.6M
  • 0.4M
  • 0.2M
  • 2011

    Platinum: 17%
    Gold: 69%
    Silver: 14%

    2011
  • 2012

    Platinum: 19%
    Gold: 75%
    Silver: 6%

    2012
  • 2013

    Platinum: 23%
    Gold: 63%
    Silver: 14%

    2013
  • 2014

    Platinum: 26%
    Gold: 59%
    Silver: 15%

    2014
  • 2015

    Platinum: 31%
    Gold: 58%
    Silver: 11%

    2015
  • 2016

    Platinum: 34%
    Gold: 54%
    Silver: 12%

    2016
  • 2017

    Platinum: 34%
    Gold: 54%
    Silver: 12%

    2017
Cumulative LEED-certified office space
  • Platinum
  • Gold
  • Silver
Square Meters
  • 1.2M
  • 1.0M
  • 0.8M
  • 0.6M
  • 0.4M
  • 0.2M
  • 2011

    Square Meters LEED Certified
    Platinum: 17%
    Gold: 69%
    Silver: 14%

    2011
  • 2012

    Square Meters LEED Certified
    Platinum: 19%
    Gold: 75%
    Silver: 6%

    2012
  • 2013

    Square Meters LEED Certified
    Platinum: 23%
    Gold: 63%
    Silver: 14%

    2013
  • 2014

    Square Meters LEED Certified
    Platinum: 26%
    Gold: 59%
    Silver: 15%

    2014
  • 2015

    Square Meters LEED Certified
    Platinum: 31%
    Gold: 58%
    Silver: 11%

    2015
  • 2016

    Square Meters LEED Certified
    Platinum: 34%
    Gold: 54%
    Silver: 12%

    2016
  • 2017

    Square Meters LEED Certified
    Platinum: 28%
    Gold: 56%
    Silver: 16%

    2017
  • 2018

    Square Meters LEED Certified
    Platinum: 28%
    Gold: 57%
    Silver: 12%

    2018
Cumulative LEED-certified office space from 2011 to 2016
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Platinum 17% 19% 23% 26% 31% 34% 28%
Gold 69% 75% 63% 59% 58% 54% 57%
Silver 14% 6% 14% 15% 11% 12% 12%
Young man standing between two shelves of various produce, looking down at his clipboard
Back of a person in black scrubs weighing food on a grey metal cart

Food you don’t buy is food you don’t waste.

Tracking data and making adjustments in our cafés has helped us prevent over 3 million kilograms (6.6 million pounds) of food waste since 2014.

Learn more about how we reduce food waste (opens in a new window)

A ride shared is a resource spared.

By using our Google shuttle buses in the Bay Area in 2018, we saved more than 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent—that’s like taking 8,760 cars off the road every work day.

Carbon emissions avoided =

8
.
7
K

Cars off the road every work day

A green landscape next to an urban concrete walkway.

Spotlight story

The journey toward healthy materials

Our Healthy Materials Program has made building spaces healthier for Googlers. Next step: healthier buildings for everyone.

Building products that will leave people, the planet, and our communities better than we found them.

Integrating sustainability into our products, operations and communities is an ongoing endeavor that involves designing in sustainability from the start and embedding it into the entire product development process, all while creating the products our customers want.

One step closer to our goals.

In 2019, we shared a set of sustainability commitments for hardware devices and services, which include carbon free shipments by 2020, more recycled materials in Made by Google products, and a commitment to making technology that puts people first and expands access to the benefits of technology.

Learn more about our hardware sustainability commitments(opens in a new window)
10
0
%

of all shipments going to or from customers will be carbon neutral by 2020

Close up of the black Nest Learning Thermostat
A young child in a colorful yellow sweatshirt watering houseplants sitting atop a table under a nest thermostat

Creating demand for recycled materials.

To date, we’ve shipped millions of devices made with post-consumer recycled plastic. Products like the Nest Thermostat E, Google Home, and Chromecast all contain parts with 20%–75% post-consumer recycled plastic content.

See our Product Environmental Reports

Nest uses energy-saving technology

Spotlight story

Nest uses energy-saving technology to relieve the low-income energy burden

On Earth Day 2018, Nest and Google launched the Power Project to bring energy-saving technologies and assistance to those who need it most.

Empowering users with technology means we can do more, together.

We’re working to meet the challenges posed by climate change by empowering everyone—businesses, governments, nonprofit organizations, communities, and individuals—to use Google technology to create a more sustainable world.

Access to valuable information helps protect the planet.

Access to valuable information helps protect the planet.

Our Geo team works with numerous research and nonprofit organizations to map the world’s forests, fisheries, watersheds, air quality, and solar potential.

Since 2015, Project Sunroof has mapped more than 107 million rooftops in 21,500 cities across the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Argentina, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, and Australia.

Visit Project Sunroof (opens in a new window)

AI for Social Good

AI for Social Good

In 2018, Google AI announced its AI for Social Good program, which applies core Google research and engineering efforts to projects that help address societal and environmental challenges. Google is using AI to create better flood forecasting models, aid in wildlife conservation, and much more.

Learn more about Google’s AI for Social Good program (opens in a new window)

Small changes to make a big impact

Small changes to make a big impact

In 2018, Google teamed up with the California Academy of Sciences to launch Your Plan, Your Planet, an interactive tool that helps everyone understand their environmental impact as it relates to food, energy, and water, while demonstrating simple, science-based ways to improve it.

Learn more about Your Plan, Your Planet (opens in a new window)

Turning environmental insights into action

Spotlight story

The more you know: Turning environmental insights into action

Environmental Insights Explorer is an online tool designed to provide the carbon emissions insights to cities of all sizes—and ultimately accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.