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How Green is Google?

How Green is Google?

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin with one of the companies 100 Plug-In hybrids.

October 20, 2007 —

Google has developed a reputation for being forward-thinking. Its founders are Burning Man attendees, its motto is "don't be evil," and the atmosphere at its headquarters more closely resembles a college campus than that of a Fortune 500 company. But is Google ahead of the curve on climate change?

So far, the answer seems to be yes. The company made headlines this summer with a plan to become carbon neutral by 2008, and has become one of the highest profile green companies on earth. At the Googleplex in Mountainview California, the light bulbs are energy efficient, employees can use a biodeisel shuttle service to get to work, and 100 solar-charged plug-in hybrids are available to workers as part of a free car-sharing program. It's features like these that makes a job at Google one of the most sought-after gigs in the tech field, despite its reputation for low starting salaries.

“It's a key part of attracting and retaining employees,” says Doreen Reid of The Climate Group, a British non-profit that consults with businesses to help them reduce their carbon footprint.  “Students coming out of college are more conscious of a company's environmental image.”

A multi-million dollar solar energy installation at the Googleplex is the largest of its kind in corporate America. During peak hours, the Googleplex gets 30% of its energy from the sun, and the company hopes to make back its investment on the project within 5-7 years. Google has also joined forces with Intel and 20 other companies to start the "Climate-Saving Computing Initiative," aimed at creating energy saving technologies for computers.

By all indications, Google is living up to its motto.

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