Editor's note: Updated Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Europe is gearing up for a challenging winter - with rising prices and pressures on the European grid, driven by Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, further driving the need for secure, reliable, sustainable and affordable energy sources.
We know that energy security and affordability are top of mind for many across Europe right now. People are turning to Google to ask questions about conserving energy and managing their costs. In the UK, a year ago just one in ten searches on the topic of energy prices was a ‘why’, ‘how’ or ‘when’ question - now it’s one in four. In Germany, we’ve seen search interest trending for queries like ‘how to save natural gas’, ‘heating cost’ and how to save energy - while in Belgium, searches for ‘how to save on gas’ are up more than 5,000% since this time last year.
In times of uncertainty, people turn to Google for help and information. As people look for new ways to stay on top of their energy consumption and keep costs manageable, we’re launching a new feature in 29 countries and 22 languages across Europe to enable people to find relevant and actionable information to help them navigate this crisis and save energy.
Relevant information on Google Search
Starting today, when people search for information on the energy landscape in Europe, they'll see dedicated features with helpful and reliable information. When you search for things like ‘Europe energy crisis’ and ‘energy price’, you'll see news articles, local information including financial assistance that may be available, and recommended actions from the International Energy Agency to help conserve energy.
Whether it’s turning down the heat or adjusting the settings of your boiler, you will be able to see, at a glance, information about saving energy in your home. These information panels will surface alongside other relevant results from the open web.
The launch of the energy crisis feature is a further addition to products and tools we have already launched in Europe to help people learn more about accessing energy affordably, reliably, and efficiently. For example, earlier this year we launched updates to Google Maps that help you find more fuel-efficient routes to reduce emissions and costs when you need to drive.
Efficient energy use
We also know that change starts at home. That’s why, over the past five years, we’ve worked to increase the energy efficiency of our computing systems by five times. And Google data centers use about six times less overhead energy compared to an average data center.
As part of our goal to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030, we operated at 66% carbon-free energy in 2021 – up 5% from 2019 – and have been matching 100% of the electricity consumption of our operations with renewable energy purchases for five consecutive years.
Because of the challenges Europe is facing, we’re now taking additional steps that will enable us to temporarily further reduce our overall power usage in the region to ease demand during the winter months. We’re implementing various measures like restructuring workloads to ease the pressure on the European grid without compromising performance for our users and customers, and with increased supervision by our site reliability engineers.
In addition, to further reduce energy usage in our offices across the region, we are continuously auditing and adjusting demand-based heating, cooling, ventilating and other systems to switch off and reduce usage whenever possible. Combined, our energy efficiency measures in our offices and operations are helping support the European grid at this time of energy scarcity.
Technology can contribute to addressing the challenges facing Europe today. We remain committed to connecting people with timely, relevant and actionable information when they need it most and to supporting the communities in which we live and work during both good and challenging times.