by Alex A. Kecskes
If you’re a utilities engineer (or aspire to be one), large, power hungry companies may employ you to work with power utilities to cut their electric bill. To accurately measure a company’s carbon footprint, you’ll need to evaluate the total energy impact of its products and services.
Take Google, for example. The search engine giant recently released figures detailing exactly how much electricity the company’s vast data centers use--over 260 million watts. Google needs this power 24/7 to run all those searches, Gmails, Google Ads, and YouTube videos.
Google’s “Godzilla” carbon footprint is estimated to be just under 1.5 million metric tons. On the plus side, Google’s electricity is not entirely carbon based. It gets a quarter of its power from renewable fuels like wind. Adding more "fuel" to its energy “cred,” Google insists that its billion daily data searches save trips to the library and store. The company notes that their average user uses only 180-watt hours per month, the equivalent of running a 60-watt light bulb for three hours. And that Google search queries only burn 12.5 million watts.
Apple has also taken an interest in reducing its carbon footprint, which in 2010 was estimated at 14.8 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Apple uses a life cycle analysis to determine the origin of their greenhouse gas emissions. They add up all emissions created by the manufacture, transportation, use, and recycling of its products, as well as the emissions generated by its facilities.
Apple discovered that as much as 98 percent of its carbon footprint was directly related to its products, while just 2 percent came from its facilities. To reduce its carbon footprint, Apple designs its products to use less material, ships its products in smaller packages and recycles as much as possible.
For an added perspective, check out this video:
If you have any thoughts or suggestions on careers in carbon footprint reduction, feel free to share them in the comments section.
Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.