The recent "Carbon Reduction Through Digital Delivery" analysis of WSP/Microsoft data generated a comment about vendors passing on energy cost savings from the reduction to download customers. How much are those savings and how much motivation would they provide?
What is the carbon footprint of a large file download? A paper comparing digital and physical delivery of Microsoft Office is light on detail, but provides some useful clues.
The WSP study of Microsoft Office distribution concluded that "digital delivery reduced total tonnes of carbon emissions by 88%." Is this a realistic savings for digital delivery of movies and large software/game packages from most sellers and distributors?
We learned that the 11 billion consumer devices attached to our global ICT infrastructure is expanding the Green ICT focus outside of the core. Now, there is growing awareness how device use can impact the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the network and core. Jenna Wortham writes in The New York Times:
Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL) has a site for standby power issues, which states that standby (sometimes called "vampire" or "phantom" power) is "typically 5-10% of residential electricity use in most developed countries."
LBNL does not make public its underlying analysis for that statement and a number of people have questioned it, so I've applied the consistency modeling techniques I use for clients to this problem. Here is the result.
Printing web pages can be a frustrating experience, yielding both poor layouts and wasted paper. @greenit recently called attention to three utilities purporting to reduce print waste, one desktop-based and two online. The Vertatique home page can be challenging to to print since it is a dynamic assembly from an underlying content management system (Drupal CMS), rather than a hard-coded HTML page, so I used it for a quick test of the two online utilities.
I was asked during my HPA sustainable media session to compare the carbon footprint of a movie delivered by DVD versus one delivered by streaming. It was a good question, but one that required much research. Here's the first half of the answer.
Remote power management of computers is becoming an increasingly powerful tool to control energy consumption and carbon emissions. Behavioral techniques, like encouraging users to turn off their machines at the end of the day, are not always effective and may interfere with off-hours IT activities like upgrades. The Energy Star program now publishes a list of commercial and open-source power management products, along with success stories. Visit Energy Star's Power Management home page for an overview of resources for both organizations and individuals.
E-devices are so pervasive in our lives that we might not consider the full potential of personal e-waste reduction. The British weighed in with a law that, according to Discover magazine, expands the e-waste definition to include electrical 'adult toys'. Individual manufacturers are also offering green devices.
Earth Hour is an initiative sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and others to raise awareness about global warming by asking individuals, municipalities, and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour (8:30PM local time, 28 Mar). Turning off our personal computers and e-devices appears to be a more complicated issue.