I’ve been banging on for years about the carbon footprint of emails and how the heat that computers generate contribute to global warming. At last, someone else can see the real problem with inefficient computers and useless data.
A study commissioned by energy company OVO has highlighted how many carbon emissions are created by one of our most seemingly insignificant daily activities – sending emails…
Incredibly, sending a single email creates 1g of carbon emissions. It may not seem much, but according to research, Brits send over 64 million unnecessary emails every day. This accounts for 23,475 tonnes of carbon being added to the global footprint each year.
If we all cut back on just one email a day in the UK, we would reduce our collective carbon footprint by over 16,433 tonnes a year which is equivalent to 81,152 flights to Madrid.
Can this be true? Mike Berners-Lee, brother of web inventor Tim and professor at Lancaster University agrees, in general terms at least.
“When you are typing, your computer is using electricity. When you press send, it goes through the network and it takes electricity to run the network. And it’s going to end up being stored on the cloud somewhere, and those data centres uses a lot of electricity. We don’t think about it because we can’t see the smoke coming out of our computers, but the carbon footprint of IT is huge and growing.” (quote from Guardian article)
We think that when we store data in the cloud, it is somehow floating in a virtual space which consumes no energy. The truth is that your data is held in enormous data centres all over the world and they are burning huge amounts of electricity and adding to the over heating of our planet. There is no doubt that there are huge benefits with the internet, but we must use it selectively and wisely. Maybe sending fewer emails is a start.
Phil Selwyn – Technical Director, Water Powered Technologies