The carbon footprint of your Google searches

“Recent research has also highlighted that performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea (a search meaning a series of web searches leading to a conclusion).”

So says Mark Line of Two Tomorrows, a consultancy, in this article.

Worthy of thought, isn’t it?

UPDATE: Thanks to a reader (below) for posting a link to Google’s response to this above idea.

Google says that:

“Recently, though, others have used much higher estimates, claiming that a typical search uses “half the energy as boiling a kettle of water” and produces 7 grams of CO2. We thought it would be helpful to explain why this number is *many* times too high. Google is fast — a typical search returns results in less than 0.2 seconds. Queries vary in degree of difficulty, but for the average query, the servers it touches each work on it for just a few thousandths of a second. Together with other work performed before your search even starts (such as building the search index) this amounts to 0.0003 kWh of energy per search, or 1 kJ. For comparison, the average adult needs about 8000 kJ a day of energy from food, so a Google search uses just about the same amount of energy that your body burns in ten seconds.”

So this sounds less than the above claim. I wonder which is right. One of the reasons that I posted the original link is because I was so surprised at how much energy google searches are supposed to use according to the research mentioned.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Toby – thought you might be interested in this article: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/powering-google-search.html

    Cheers * W.

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