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Sustainability

Giving you more sustainable choices with Google

Climate change is no longer a distant threat — it’s increasingly local and personal. Around the world, wildfires, flooding and other extreme weather continue to affect our health, our economies and our future together on our planet. We need urgent and meaningful solutions to address this pressing challenge. That’s why last year we committed to bold action to run our data centers and campuses on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030.

Companies aren’t the only ones asking what more we can do to help the planet — increasingly people are asking themselves those questions, too. So today we’re sharing several new ways people can use Google’s products to make sustainable choices. Among them, we’re introducing new features to book flights or purchase appliances that have lower carbon footprints, a Nest program to support clean energy from home, and eco-friendly routing on Google Maps — which is rolling out today. And when people come to Google Search with questions about climate change, we’ll show authoritative information from sources like the United Nations, in addition to the existing news sources that we currently raise up in the carousel. It’s all part of our goal to help one billion people make more sustainable choices by 2022.

You can now see carbon emissions per seat for every flight in Google Flights.

Travel and shop more sustainably

We’re adding new features to help make decisions about travel — from what flights to book to where to stay. Launching globally today, we’re bringing carbon emissions information to Google Flights. You’ll be able to see associated carbon emissions per seat for every flight, and quickly find lower-carbon options. And when you search for hotels, you’ll see information on their sustainability efforts, from waste reduction and water conservation measures to whether they’re Green Key or EarthCheck certified.

We’re also helping people make more sustainable choices when they shop, starting with home appliances. When you search for energy-intensive products like furnaces, dishwashers or water heaters, suggestions in the Shopping tab will help narrow your search to cost-effective and sustainable options.

Supporting clean energy from home

For over a decade, Nest thermostats have helped people save energy at home. Today we are taking these efforts a step further with a new service called Nest Renew. Using a feature called Energy Shift, compatible Nest thermostats can help users automatically shift electricity usage for heating and cooling to times when energy is cleaner or less expensive. For those who want to do more to help support the growth of clean energy, we will offer a paid subscription option, Renew Premium, that will match your fossil fuel electricity at home with high-quality renewable energy credits generated from the same projects in Google's energy portfolio.

Getting around more sustainably

Traveling by car is one of the more carbon-intensive choices people make on a daily basis. Starting today in the U.S., and in Europe in 2022, Google Maps will let you choose the most fuel-efficient route if it isn’t already the fastest one. We estimate that this could save over one million tons of carbon emissions per year — the equivalent of removing over 200,000 cars from the road — and save you money by reducing fuel consumption.

You can choose the most eco-friendly route in Google Maps.

We're also working to make sure the cars that remain on the road are eco-friendly. On Search, we're making it easier to see hybrid and electric vehicle options, compare them against gas-powered models, and find rebates so you know the true cost before you buy. These features will start to roll out in the U.S. this year, with more to come in 2022.

Of course, the most sustainable choice often doesn't involve a car at all. That’s why we’re introducing lite navigation for cyclists on Maps, and making it simpler to find bikes and scooter shares in over 300 cities around the world.

AI for more efficient traffic lights

Illustration of an intersection showing cars, a stoplight and roadways.

Early research indicates that AI can help cities make their traffic lights more efficient, making every route more eco-friendly no matter the car.

At the same time, we’re finding ways to make routes more efficient, across an entire city, with early research into using artificial intelligence to optimize the efficiency of traffic lights. We’ve been piloting this research in Israel to predict traffic conditions and improve the timing of when traffic lights change. So far, we are seeing a 10-20% reduction in fuel consumption and delay time at intersections. We’re excited to expand these pilots to Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

Cleanest cloud in the industry

We’re also helping business customers like Whirlpool, Etsy, HSBC, Unilever and Salesforce develop new solutions for the specific climate change challenges they face, and benefit from the cleanest cloud in the industry. We recently launched tools to help businesses choose cleaner regions to locate their Google Cloud resources. And next week at Google Cloud Next ‘21, we’ll announce more ways every company can choose to be more sustainable.

More sustainable with Google

In all these efforts, our goal is to make the sustainable choice an easier choice. At the individual level, these choices may seem small, but when people have the tools to make them at scale, they equal big improvements. We’ll need nothing less to avert the worst consequences of climate change, and we’ll continue to find ways our products can help.

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