Cloud Energy
and Emissions
Research Model

Frequently Asked Questions


What does the CLEER model provide?
The C L E E R (Cloud Energy and Emissions Research) Model is a comprehensive user friendly open-access model for assessing the net energy and emissions implications of cloud services in different regions and at different levels of market adoption. The model aims to provide full transparency on calculations and input value assumptions so that its results can be replicated and its data and methods can be easily refined and improved by the research community. The overarching purpose of the CLEER Model is to encourage and enable open scientific research on the positive and negative impacts of cloud services.

Who developed the CLEER model?
The CLEER model was developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Northwestern University. The study was requested and funded by Google. However, the research was conducted and the results reported independently by the team. The results of this model are not specific to Google or other any specific cloud vendor. The assumptions used are intended to reflect cloud services in general. The report details our assumptions and the source of our data.

Why is the environmental impact of the cloud important?
The energy use of data centers is a topic that has received much attention, given that data centers currently account for 1-2% of global electricity use. However, cloud computing holds great potential to reduce data center energy demand moving forward, due to both large reductions in servers and large increases in facility efficiencies compared to traditional local data centers. Cloud data centers are also likely to play an increasing role in reducing demand for physical goods and services--a process known as dematerialization--which can lead to environmental benefits elsewhere in the economy. The CLEER Model is an important first step toward better understanding both the positive and negative energy impacts of cloud services by providing a flexible and scientifically open model for use and refinement by the research community.

Where was the CLEER model presented?
The CLEER model and other similar work was discussed at the How Green is the Internet summit

Can I get the actual code / spreadsheet?
The CLEER model is currently available only through this web interface.

Who can I contact to ask more detailed questions about the assumptions and calculations in this model?
A: Please use the Contact Us to get in touch with the team.

Data Privacy

Do you store data that is entered?
Data that is entered in the interface is not saved unless you explicitly choose to save it at the end of the experiment.

Who will see the data that I save?
Scenarios are saved under a login id and are only accessible to the user logged in.

Model Usage

Do I need to register at the website?
No. The analysis tool can be used without registering at the website. We do ask that people appropriately reference this work if the results are published. You can optionally save the results if you are logged in. You can use one of the following existing account types as login with this interface: Google Accounts (e.g.,, Google Apps (e.g., enterprise Google accounts) or OpenID.

How do I load the scenarios from the report?
The main screen (Click tab Public Use Model) has a dropdown menu that lists the the three scenarios from the report.

What is the scope of your modeling
The CLEER Model is based on a bottom-up analysis of the major societal end uses of energy that are affected by cloud systems, including data centers, data transmission systems, client IT devices, commercial and residential buildings, and manufacturing, transportation, and waste management systems. It further includes key interrelationships between these end use systems.

I am looking to replace my servers with a cloud solution. Can your model help me understand the energy and emissions impact of my choices?
Yes, you could use one of the scenarios and change the inputs for your case and/or select Custom and enter and edit details of your present day and future setup.

What analysis can I do from the web interface?
The model structure provides flexibility to assess a range of different cloud service models, technology and operations configurations, local conditions (e.g., electricity grid mix), and system responses in different regions, thereby ensuring broad applicability of results.At different scales of market adoption, the CLEER Model quantifies the net changes in regional energy use between present day and cloud-based systems—accounting for changes in both direct energy use and embodied energy—and calculates the resulting net changes in direct and embodied GHG emissions. Scale is defined as the number of organizations and/or end-users who shift from present-day to cloud-based systems.

Can I use the model to just compare my data center with another data center
Yes. Enter details for your data center in present day scenario and the other data center in the cloud scenario.

How do I use the model to do regional analysis?
The scenarios from the report loaded in the system are good examples of the case studies. In our case studies, we assume that the data centers can be combined into six different data center types. However, you are able to enter upto six data centers under present day and six data centers under cloud setups.

Can I download the results of the model?
Yes. Use the download results button in the final output screen to save the spreadsheet to the desktop.

Can I save the results from the model?
Yes. Use the save results button in the final output screen to save the results under an approved login.

Does your model work to compare a present day cloud with future day cloud? Yes. You can enter a cloud setup for both presend day and cloud setups. How do I see my previous scenarios?
Use the Login link at the top right and then use the History tab to view previously saved scenarios.