Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Our Online Energy Consumption (and waste)

BBC's Bill Thompson has a great column on the energy we waste with our switched on, but unused online gadgets over the holidays. By making the point about the energy wasted in UK offices during the holidays, Thompson points out the larger issue of the carbon load we create with our gadgets. And our lack of awarness of the energy considerations.
According to research carried out by office equipment supplier Canon, based on figures from the National Energy Foundation and Infosource, more than six million PCs will be left on over Christmas, consuming nearly forty million kilowatt hours of electricity.

Together with the printers and other hardware they will waste enough electricity to microwave 268 million mince pies, pumping 19,000 unnecessary tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, at a cost of around £8.6m.

To a large extent this waste is a result of carelessness and a failure to think, as few machines need to be left switched on when they aren't in use. We have, as a society, been too lazy about this for too long and it is time we became much more aware of the energy costs of our hi-tech lifestyle.
As with so many other things in this world, it is the little things that do count. We have the slogans:
  • Think globally, act locally.
  • Be the change you want to see in the world.
So as you leave your office for a holiday break, act locally. As Bill notes:
"In the end, the cumulative effect of small changes are the key to changing our patterns of energy consumption and avoiding the coming crisis of global warming and massive climate change.

So turn off the hardware as you leave the office for your Christmas break - the only shining lights in the darkness should be the ones on the tree at home."
And while you are at it, consider the power of your action in other areas. Like an act of online kindness in how we communicate to each other.



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