Mobile internet services based in the “cloud” are a part of daily life and continue to proliferate. Given the huge amounts of energy needed to power the data centers that are the backbone of our online life, Greenpeace recently released a “How Green Is Your Cloud” study comparing which internet companies are the most environmentally friendly when it comes to electricity generation. That report forms the basis of today’s Five Friday Facts. One caveat to the report is that it seems that they are just looking at the grid and not taking into account electricity produced on site like Apple is planning to do in its new North Carolina facility. Still, the report serves as a starting point for discussion about data center clean energy use.
- If the cloud were its own country, it would rank fifth in the world for how much electricity it uses, and that electricity demand will triple by 2020!
- Server farms can consume as much electricity as a small city. Some of the largest consume as much electricity as 180,000 homes.
- Yahoo! was the only major Internet company in the study to get most of its electricity from renewable or clean energy sources, according to the report. 56% of the electricity demand for its data centers comes from such cleaner sources.
- Facebook is building a server farm in Sweden that can be powered by renewable sources.
- Amazon, Apple and Microsoft continue to rapidly add server capacity, but all three rely heavily on coal. On Greenpeace’s report card, Amazon gets three F’s and a D. Apple gets three D’s and an F.