So how much juice does it take for Google to power all its searches and servers, not to mention email and YouTube? Lots, as in 2.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2010, reports the San Jose Mercury News. That's enough for about 200,000 houses. The company released its energy figures for the first time today, and one exec tells the New York Times that while the number sounds enormous, critics should consider that Google helps the world save energy, too. People can search by computer, for example, rather than driving to the library. Google also notes that each user only consumes about 180 watt-hours a month—which is equivalent to running a 60-watt light bulb for three hours.
The company also says it emitted 1.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide last year, which the Mercury News equates to the emissions of 70,000 Americans. Google says about a quarter of its energy comes from renewable fuels, and it plans to raise that to 30% this year. "The disclosure marks an important turning point for the high-tech industry," writes Heather Clancy at ZDNet. "As many companies aspire to win out in the cloud services movement—Cisco, IBM, Dell, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are just a few of the companies drooling after Google’s marketshare—the ability to manage electricity consumption and energy-efficiency will be a critical operational measure." (Read more Google stories.)