By Maximilian Clarke

Google has been stepping up efforts to reduce its climatic impact, today announcing a host of measures to reduce its footprint.

All of the web giant’s US data centres are now run to environmental management standard ISO 14001 and efforts are underway to extend the same environmental accountability across Europe and beyond.

“For the last year, our data center [sic] team has been working on a project to bring our facilities to even higher standards for environmental management and workforce safety. Recently we got the good news that our work paid off,” wrote Joe Kava, Senior Director, data center construction and operations in the company’s latest blog.

“In a nutshell, both standards are built around a very simple concept: Say what you’re going to do, then do what you say–and then keep improving. The standards say what key elements are required, but not how to do it–that part’s up to us. So we set some challenging goals for ourselves, and we asked our auditors to confirm that we’ve followed through on them. “

“Here’s an example of the kind of improvements we’ve implemented: Like most data centers, ours have emergency backup generators on hand to keep things up and running in case of a power outage. To reduce the environmental impact of these generators, we’ve done two things: first, we minimized the amount of run time and need for maintenance of those generators. Second, we worked with the oil and generator manufacturers to extend the lifetime between oil changes. So far we’ve managed to reduce our oil consumption in those generators by 67 percent.

Facebook have apparently been making similar advances to reduce their climate impact, recently announcing their European data centre would be built in the small Swedish town of Lulea.

Flanking the Arctic Circle, a data centre in Lulea would save significantly reduce the usually vast energy bills required to cool the energy intensive structures. Further, an abundance of hydroelectric plants would provide the centre with low cost, clean electricity.

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