The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy rocks. They have put numbers to what I have long expected to be true. Folks who complain about how much energy computers waste are crazy. Computers save tons of energy, while, themselves, using less energy than the lightbulb used to light the workstation. And now we know how much.
The study focused on a metric called "energy intensity." Basically, that's the amount of energy necessary to produce a dollar of economic output. The first major drop in energy intensity occured after the oil crisis in the 1970s. That was a cost-based drop, not generally the ideal.
Then, after OPEC lost its stranglehold, energy intensity stopped dropping because energy was once again cheap. But then, starting in the late 1990s, energy intensity began to drop significantly again. This drop was unrelated to energy costs and was, in fact, a technologically spurred change.
Computers were helping us become more efficient. First, by using their power to design more efficient practices. And second, and much more significantly, by allowing people and things to travel digitally, instead of physically.
Telecommuting a couple days per week, reading news online, emails, document downloads, and instant messages all allow people and things to travel while consuming much smaller amounts of energy. What's more, online shopping has reduced trips to retail stores, resulting in significant energy savings.
Energy intensity has continued to drop more than 2% every year since the Internet first appeared. Without the Internet, the paper's authors suggest that we would need one billion more barrels per oil per year! Indeed, ever kilowatt/hour we spend on the Internet looks to have saved about 10 kilowatt/hours of energy.
Not that I need another reason to spend time online...
written by Magnulus, March 01, 2008
written by weee recycling, March 02, 2008
written by Kate Lister - Undress4Success.com, March 03, 2008
written by Name, November 27, 2008
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