1% of Internet Energy Consumption Saves the Entire Amazon Rainforest

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A student couple in Germany shows how the entire rainforest deforestation in the amazon tropical forest could be stopped by investing 1% of internet energy consumption.

Read the full article at ExperimentEarth.com

The Internet’s Energy Consumption

Only very few studies have been made on the internet’s energy consumption in the past. A study made by Jonathan Koomey of Berkley Lab[1] in 1995 and then again in 1999 about energy consumption of information technology in the US estimated the total electricity usage by office and network equipment to about 74 TeraWatt-hours, about two percent of total electricity usage.

A more recent study by a consulting professor at Stanford University[2], who is also a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, estimates the total datacenter energy consumption accounting for about 1.2% of total energy consumption in the US.

I found an article at infoworld.com written by David L. Margulius[3]. He mentiones first of all that this study took into consideration only the datacenters, but not the personal computers which are used by the millions to connect to the internet. And he also converts this energy consumption into dollars which makes it easier for us to comprehend. About 3 billion dollars are consumed by datacenters, including servers, cooling, and auxiliary infrastructure, while the grand total of energy usage amounts to 300 billion dollars in the United States. If we took the personal computers into consideration calculating based on Margulius’ estimates (which are on the very low end!) it would result in another 3 billion dollars.

While there are other claims that world wide internet consumption were around 5%-6% of 15,000 billion kWh (about 1500 billion dollars, resulting in 0.05 * 1500 = 75 billion dollars) we can all just agree that, how David puts it, “…Cyberspace is sucking a lot of juice.”

The Rainforest Calculation

According to Wikipedia, our planet’s total energy consumption amounts to about 15,000 kW [4]. Our world’s electricity prices average about $ 0.1 USD/kWh according to www.solarbuzz.com[5]. Thtis totals in 1,500 billion dollars of electricity costs worldwide. Let’s say the internet consumes only 1% of these total costs, which honestly I think it is more (read “The Internet’s Energy Consumption” above). According to this calculation the internet uses 150 billion dollars in electricity (this is just the electricity bill to have the internet up and running, not covered are manufacturing of computers, networks, datacenters..).

Let’s now on the other hand look at the amazon rainforest. Since 1988 average deforestation rate was about 15,000 km2 – 20,000km2 per year [6].

According to WorldLandTrust[7] and WWF[8], these organisations are able to save and preserve one square meter for about 10 cents.

Let’s now say 1% of total energy costs of the internet were invested in buying and preserving the amazon rain forest. 1% of 150 billion dollars are 1.5 billion dollars.

If we had 1.5 billion dollars to buy amazon rain forest we would be able to buy and save 15,000 km2, exactly the amount we are losing every year.

With our website we are trying to set a standardArticle Search, We are giving 10% of are total sales and currently 100% of our actual profits to the rainforests. Compared to electricity consumption it will result in 1000 times or more of that required one percent to completely save the amazon rainforest. 

Read the full article on ExperimentEarth.com

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