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Google’s Energy Usage, Compared to Arlington

Last week Google, for the first time, revealed how much electricity it consumes around the world.

It turns out that Google’s massive data centers and its corporate offices consume a mind-boggling amount of electricity: 2.26 billion kilowatt hours in 2010. The company’s power consumption — 260 million watts at any given moment — is about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant, according to the New York Times.

To further put that in perspective, Arlington as a whole (homes, businesses and governmental entities) consumed 2.76 billion kilowatt hours in 2007, according to a recent county report — a half billion kilowatts more than Google. The 210,000 people who live in Arlington consume far less electricity at home, however. Arlington households (single-family homes, condos and apartment buildings) consume about 0.73 billion kilowatt hours per year — less than a third of Google’s consumption.

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