Google update shows carbon dioxide emissions for flights and which dishwashers are energy efficient
Google has released several new green updates to its Maps, Shopping and Search features, which the company says will help users make more sustainable choices.
Travelers who want to book on Google Flights can get carbon emissions estimates for almost any flight, right next to price and duration.
For ground transportation, Google Maps can now be optimized to show the routes with the best fuel efficiency and the lowest greenhouse gas emissions.
Buyers looking for major appliances will now get details on the most fuel efficient models.
The updates were announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday at a special Sustainable with Google presentation held virtually, and come after North America sets records for the months of June and July. the hottest in history.
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Google Travel now provides carbon emissions estimates for almost all flights, right next to price and duration. Fares take into account factors such as the age of the aircraft and the seat chosen by the passenger, as first class takes up more space
Carbon emissions estimates on Google Flights are taken from European Environment Agency data, as well as flight-specific information from airlines and other providers, according to Richard Holden, vice president of travel products. from Google.
“It’s critical that people can find consistent and accurate carbon emissions estimates no matter where they want to research or book their trip,” Holden said in a blog post Tuesday.
The results are quite granular, going down to the age of the aircraft and the seat class chosen by the user, as newer planes are generally less polluting and first class and premium seats take up more space. space and represent a larger share of total emissions, ”Holden said.
Flights with significantly lower emissions are tagged with a green badge and users can filter their results by “greenest” flights, as they would for the cheapest or fastest trip.
In addition to filtering the shortest path, Google Map users can select more energy efficient routes
In September, Google joined Prince Harry’s Travalyst coalition to help develop a universal open source model in the travel industry for calculating carbon emissions.
That same month, Google Travel began applying “eco-certified” green leaves to hotels that used sustainable practices like banning plastic straws and allowing guests to reuse towels.
Hotels that receive the green badge have been independently verified from organizations such as Green Key or EarthCheck, Google said in a statement.
Based on information from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Google Map Green Routing is now deployed on Android and iOS in the US, with plans to expand to Europe and elsewhere next year.
Last month, Google began applying “eco-certified” green leaves to hotels that used sustainable practices like banning plastic straws and allowing guests to reuse towels.
Google boasts that this feature has the potential to prevent over a million tonnes of carbon emissions per year, the equivalent of taking more than 200,000 cars off the road.
“Not only does the Google Maps Green Route bring NREL’s fuel-efficient technology from the lab to the road, it has enormous potential to dramatically reduce emissions and save drivers money on gasoline,” Jeff Gonder, researcher at NREL’s Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences, said in the statement.
“Something good for people and for the planet. “
If there is a significant difference between the fastest and the most fuel efficient route, users can choose the one they prefer.
To encourage even more environmentally friendly travel, Google Maps has also expanded bike and scooter sharing information for some 300 cities around the world and will add “easy navigation” functionality for Android and iOS in the coming months. come that will allow cyclists to quickly get updates on their progress and ETA in real time without having to constantly take their phone out of their pocket.
Google has also created a dedicated results page that will appear when users search for information on climate change, with reliable information from sources such as the United Nations, hopefully helping to dispel misinformation.
Richard Holden, vice president of travel products at Google, said: “It is essential that people can find consistent and accurate carbon emissions estimates no matter where they want to search or book their trip. “
In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report indicating that the combined land and ocean surface temperature in July was 1.67F (0.93C) above the 20th century average of 60.4 (15.8C), the hottest since record keeping began 142 years ago.
The temperature broke the previous record, set in 2016, of 0.02F.
“Climate change is no longer a distant threat – it is increasingly local and personal,” Pichai said in Tuesday’s announcement.
“Around the world, forest fires, floods and other extreme weather events continue to affect our health, our economies and our overall future on our planet. We need urgent and meaningful solutions to meet this urgent challenge.
Google has pledged to operate its data centers and campuses with 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030, a “moonrise” that Pichai described as “a physical manifestation of our commitment in in favor of sustainable development, which dates back to our foundation 23 years ago “. ‘
Right now, its data centers are running 67% carbon-free, up from 61% two years ago.
While Pichai admitted that Google has a big responsibility in developing a more sustainable future, he said users must do their part as well.
When visitors go to the Google Store for Major Appliances, they receive additional information on more economical and sustainable models.
Next year, Shopping’s results will also compare hybrid and electric vehicles to gasoline-powered models, taking into account long-term costs and environmental impact.
Google also launched a new service, Nest Renew, which allows Nest thermostats to automatically shift electricity use for heating and cooling at times when energy is cleaner or cheaper.
The Nest Renew will allow users to automatically shift electricity use for heating and cooling at times when energy is cleaner or cheaper. They will also receive monthly reports on their energy impact
With a $ 10 Renew Premium subscription, you can also match your fossil fuel-based electricity at home with high-quality renewable energy credits generated from projects in Google’s portfolio.
The eco-friendly additions are just the latest updates the Mountain View, California-based company has made to address pressing public health and environmental concerns.
Last summer, Google Maps added a wildfire boundary layer providing contours of current conflagrations along a route, with guidance on current news from local authorities.
Near real-time information is extracted from satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES satellites and from the data analysis capabilities of Google Earth Engine.
The information is also available on Google Search, when a user searches for a term such as “California wildfires” or searches for details about a specific fire.
In September 2020, Maps added a layer giving users up-to-date information on the rate of new coronavirus infections in their area.
In April of this year, COVID vaccination sites were added.
In 2017, Google Maps’ Street View mode added an air pollution index to city streets to help drivers find a healthier route.