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A Carbon Neutral North America

by Jess Bailey.

Wind turbines on a corn field under orange clouds during sunset
Photo by Karsten Würth (@inf1783) / Unsplash

Cloudflare's mission is to help build a better Internet. While working toward our goals, we want to make sure our processes are conducted in a sustainable manner.

In an effort to do so, we’ve reduced Cloudflare’s environmental impact by contracting to purchase regional renewable energy certificates, or “RECs,” to match 100% of the electricity used in our North American data centers as well as our U.S. offices. Cloudflare now has servers in 154 unique cities around the world, with 38 located in North America. Cloudflare has opted to support geographically diverse projects in proximity to our office and data center electricity usage. This renewable energy initiative reduces our electricity-based carbon footprint by 5,561 tons of CO2 which has a positive environmental impact. The impact can be compared to growing 144,132 trees seedlings for 10 years, or taking 1,191 cars off the road for one year.

rec_diagram_3degrees

How does buying a REC help reduce Cloudflare's carbon footprint you may ask? When 1MWh of electricity is produced from a renewable generator, such as a wind turbine, there are two products: the energy, which is delivered to the grid and mixes with other forms of energy, and the REC. When renewable energy is delivered to the grid, it cannot be distinguished from electrons from non-renewable sources. The REC is a way to track the renewable electricity and is like a receipt for owning the environmental benefits associated with the generation of renewable energy. RECs allow individuals and businesses to support renewable energy development and help to make renewable energy projects financially viable while lowering carbon footprints.

This purchase is an important step on our sustainability path. It is part of a broader sustainability effort which includes working with more data centers that specialize in lowering their PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness), as well as waste diversion and energy efficiency measures already in place in our offices worldwide. Moving forward, we plan to increase our renewable energy commitment to match energy used in our data centers and offices globally. We look forward to this and other opportunities to increase support of renewable energy and reduce our carbon footprint!

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