With a growing number of enormous data centers located in many parts of the world, Google understandably has a strong interest in energy availability and usage. Tremendous amounts of electricity are needed to power all of the company's server farms — for keeping those countless hard drive spinning, and keeping the servers cool. Electricity is also needed for powering their other facilities, including the Googleplex, the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California. In October 2006, Google announced a large-scale commitment to using solar energy at the facility, and initiated the installation of more than 9200 solar panels, which will eventually generate 1600 kilowatts — 30 percent of the electricity consumed by the buildings. As of this writing, over 90 percent of the solar panels have been installed, and they now cover most of the rooftop areas of eight buildings and two carports at the Googleplex — making it the most extensive solar panel installation on a corporate campus in the United States. The company's Solar Panel Project page offers an aerial photo of the complex, showing the massive rooftop panels, as well as an up-to-date graph and figures for the number of kilowatt-hours generated. On a daily basis, they are already generating over 1000 kilowatts. As of 18 June 2007, more than 604 megawatt-hours have been provided by those solar panels.
On 12 June 2007, the company announced the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, which is a joint effort with more than 30 organizations — including Dell, EDS, the EPA, HP, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and the World Wildlife Fund — to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, by utilizing more energy-efficient computers and other computer equipment. Just six days later, Google.org, Google's philanthropic operation, announced its RechargeIT project, whose goals are to accelerate the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, as well as vehicle-to-grid technologies — in order to reduce consumption of oil for generating electricity, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and to provide needed electricity back to the grid. Google is not only funding research by others, but also converting their own fleet of hybrid vehicles into plug-in hybrids. These vehicles, Toyota Priuses, achieve over 66 miles per gallon, over 115 watt-hours per mile, and have approximately 65 percent fewer CO2 emissions.
On 27 November 2007, Google furthered its goal to become green, by announcing a new project for the development of renewable energy sources that are cheaper than coal — hence its name, RE<C (renewal energy less than coal). The project is first focusing on the areas of advanced solar thermal power, wind power, and geothermal systems. Google anticipates investing tens of millions of dollars on research and development during 2008, and will be working with R&D laboratories, universities, and other commercial firms.
These efforts may be the first steps in this Internet giant's transformation into a green energy/computing giant.
One of the primary ways that people — especially young children and babies — become exposed to health-impairing toxic chemicals, is through contact with household cleaning products. Disinfectants, antibacterial soaps, laundry solutions, and other commonly used items obtain their germ-killing power from chloride and ethanol compounds, among many damaging chemicals. These toxins can later make their way into the human bloodstream, or the rivers and air currents of our planet — in effect, Mother Nature's bloodstream. Fortunately, there are Earth-friendly cleaning products that are effective against grime and germs, but gentle upon the environment. However, the typical individual does not know which brands of them would be best for their needs, and where to find them at a fair price. Alison Larkin and her husband Andrew, in Montpelier, Virginia, possess that knowledge, as part of their green lifestyle, which includes living in a log cabin on a farm. Spurred by friends asking them for advice on how to make their own homes more ecologically safe, Alison and Andrew founded their online business, Green-kits, in February 2007. Their Web site makes available a terrific selection of the all-natural cleaning products that the husband-and-wife team use themselves and recommend to others. By organizing their favorite products into convenient kits, they help take the guesswork out of making one's own home both cleaner and greener. In addition, they offer organic baby care products, and reusable grocery totes made from 100 percent cotton and earth-friendly inks. A recent unsolicited comment from a happy customer really sums up what Green-kits is all about: "You made it so easy! It was exactly what I needed! Plain, simple, and so smart with being a one stop shopping place with all the great earth friendly products from all vendors in one place!"
There is a growing and encouraging increase in public awareness of the downsides to conventionally grown foods and conventionally manufactured consumer products. In the case of food, these problems include pesticides, herbicides, and other carcinogenic components that are proving just as deleterious to humans as it is to the environment. In the case of consumer goods, the risk factors include lead-based paint, as well as dangerous fumes emitted by artificial fabrics. Consequently, many people in the United States and the rest of the world are making more of an effort to minimize their exposure to these pollutants, and to choose organic substitutes in place of their conventional counterparts. Dalain Kurzban, a resident of Florida, is a part of this growing trend — first as a consumer herself, incorporating organic choices into her own lifestyle — and later as a provider of organic solutions, through a family-based business: Founded in late 2005, TotallyOrganic.us offers a wide range of organic products, including mattresses and other bedding supplies, household cleaners, body and hair care products, and health care items, such as nutritional supplements. Moreover, Dalain offers clothing, toys, and furniture for children and babies. All of these items are organic and environmentally responsible. In fact, TotallyOrganic.us carries the world's first certified organic skin care line, Miessence. Explore their Web site today, and join in the global movement towards healthier and greener living through organic choices.
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