Google LLC today shared further information about a project it is working on internally to reduce the amount of water consumed in cooling its data centers.
The plan is a part of Google’s water stewardship initiative, which it initially unveiled in 2017. The search engine giant hopes to restore more water through the initiative by 2030 than it uses in its offices and data centers. Additionally, operating with net-zero carbon emissions is another target that Google has set for the end of the decade.
According to Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, in a blog post today, the company will start disclosing more information regarding its development towards its water stewardship initiatives. The company has published a study detailing the water consumption of its data centers in 2021 as a first step.
The report contains metrics from more than a dozen Google data center locations in the U.S. as well as high-level information about its international cloud facilities.
Hölzle stated that last year, their entire network of data centers used 4.3 billion gallons of water. Similar amounts of water are required each year to irrigate and maintain 29 golf courses in the southwest of the United States.
Hölzle noted that beginning in 2023, the corporation will provide more thorough water usage statistics on an annual basis. The measurements will be included in Google’s yearly Environmental Report, which also details the company’s other sustainability programs.
The search engine giant intends to outline a number of strategies it has developed to assist responsible water use in addition to disclosing its internal water usage data.
In the future, they will also disseminate the tools and local watershed health indicators they have created in collaboration with academics, NGOs, and professionals to assess water stress and responsible use.
The goal of Google’s responsible water usage strategy is to use freshwater as little as possible. To assist in cooling the hardware at some of its data centers, the company employs wastewater, industrial water, and seawater. Hölzle also said that Google is creating new technologies to improve the efficiency of its data center operations.
“We are currently developing new cooling solutions including a new low-water alternative that can reduce a data center’s water use by as much as 50% while preserving our world-class energy efficiency,” said Hölzle
Furthermore, Google is also making investments in technologies that help lower the energy use of its data centers. In order to save energy, the search engine giant has created an artificial intelligence system that automatically adjusts the cooling systems in its data centers. Google claims that the method can save electricity consumption by as much as 30%.