Clothes, TVs, driver aids, watches, toothbrushes and of course smartphones… By 2025, more than 80 billion connected objects could be in circulation around the world. And by 2020, tweeters, Facebook users, email checkers, and viewers streaming their favorite TV series will account for more than 4% of European greenhouse gas emissions alone… The Collective rolls out some tips for a slightly greener digital lifestyle.
Your office computer is grinding to a halt with open tabs: to find the address of the latest eatery on a waiting list as long as a day without a burger, or the name of a comedian (“oh, you know, the guy who played in…”), or even the info you need to finish a job today. What’s the energy cost of a search engine? It’s 0.2 g CO2 and 0.0003 kWh for a single search. At the end of the day, tabs have a high energy cost…
So start by closing tabs when you’re not using them! To reduce their energy cost, you can also rationalize Google and Safari searches by keying as few words as possible, as precisely as possible. And use “favorites” to go back to your preferred sites. In total, reducing every search will reduce power consumption by the equivalent of one lightbulb per hour. And of course, you could also think of turning off the lights you’re not using…
Nearly 3 billion people around the world are using email in 2016. Excluding spam, 215 billion messages are sent every day. According to Ademe (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), which looked at the impact of Internet and emails in France in 2014, every day, approximately 58 emails are received and 33 are sent per person. Assuming an average file size of 1 MB, sending an email to two recipients a day produces 180 kg CO2 emissions per person, the equivalent of driving more than 1,000 km.
It is therefore perhaps time to stop cc’ing everyone. Your immediate superior (N+1) and his superior (N+2) may not be interested in every tiny thing you’re doing, so deleting them would save the equivalent of 6g CO2, or 44 kg per year per employee (only in offices, though). And, obviously, the bigger your email, the bigger the savings.
4G, Wi-Fi: don’t set it to sleep or standby
Do you really need to be connected continuously? You can massively extend the battery life of your latest-generation iPhone or shiny new Samsung by turning off your Wi-Fi or 4G connection when you don’t need it. And that’s not all. Did you know when they are put in stand by your networked devices draw almost as much power as when they’re active? This is because, as connected things, they are constantly searching the network to stay web-connected…
According to a 2014 International Energy Agency (IEA) report, within four years, wasted energy worldwide will cost 120 billion dollars a year. So unless networked devices can also be used as a source of savings by making electricity use smarter, think about switching things off.
“Removing the manager and one colleague from 10% of emails in a company of 100 employees saves the equivalent of roughly 1 ton of CO2 a year.”