What Really Drives the Internet

Did you know that the web page that you are staring at right now can produce as much CO2 as an SUV? Well, not science buzz itself but, the internet as a whole is a major contributer to the greenhouse gas, equaling the amount produced by the entire aviation industry. When you think about it, its not as amazing of a fact as it first appears to be. Just imagine the amount of electricity that is used to power all of the computers used in businesses and homes. Add to that the real culprit, all of the servers in data centers that store pictures, videos, and websites.

The data centers run 24/7Data Center
Data CenterCourtesy Gregory Maxwell
saving and processing information for internet users around the world. The amount of energy needed to run the servers is large but that is not the only consumer of electricity. The cooling systems for the rows and rows of buzzing machines eat electrons like popcorn. All of this electricity needs to come from somewhere and that is where the CO2 comes into play. Its the coal burning plants that add the gases to the environment.

Making more energy efficient cooling systems, better software, and using recycled water are some of the steps companies have made to create a greener internet. Although it is hard to measure how much CO2 each internet action adds and a direct comparison to cars is not available, this is something to think about when watching the latest youtube video. Its not only your computer you're powering.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Hmm. Yeah, I seem to remember that someone recently estimated that doing just 2 searches on Google used an amount of energy equivalent to what it takes to boil a tea kettle. (I could have the figures wrong, but it was something similar, at least.)

In any case, I've been trying to cut back on tea to make up for my internet use.

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 10:29am
trans-2-butene's picture

Ba! That's crazy. Looks like I need to seriously consider how much time I spend on facebook...

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 3:11pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

No, I heard that Facebook runs on narcissism and paranoia. Also, friendship.

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 3:50pm
curious's picture
curious says:

that's why going paperless is a little ironic, because you still be using energy by using the net. oh well, one step at a time...

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 3:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

All your dataz are belong to them?

posted on Sat, 07/25/2009 - 6:21pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

holy crap i helped set up three and currrently work in the largest of those. what does that say about me?

posted on Sat, 07/25/2009 - 6:23pm

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