Google's Berkeley County data center is about to undertake a first-of-its-kind project in the Lowcountry, burning off methane at the county landfill to reduce emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The May 26 burn, which local Google Operations Manager Eric Wages says "sounds bad, but is actually good," is part of the company's commitment to becoming carbon neutral.
Energy efficiency is an important component of the company's bottom line — something it seeks to achieve through innovative infrastructure design, "green" operational protocols, and renewable energy practices at its Silicon Valley headquarters. But the enormous energy consumption at a typical data center requires the company to purchase voluntary carbon assets to meet its goal.
It has focused on methane,considered a significant contributor to global warming and found in landfills.
"As odd as it may sound, 'flaring off' or burning the methane as it comes out of the ground greatly reduces the amount of carbon the gas ultimately emits," says Matt Dunne, Google's U.S. community affairs manager.