Whether it’s reducing waste, walking instead of driving, or opting for more eco-friendly fashion, most of us are aware of how small lifestyle changes can help the environment. Technology also plays a crucial role; from innovations in agriculture to GMAP technology used to detect pollution, there is no denying that it’s helping us go green. But can the same be said for the technology we use in our everyday lives? A closer look at some of our most common tech habits may surprise you.
Thanks to technology, almost everything can now be done digitally – be it online banking or communicating by email. Indeed, cloud technology has played a huge part in going paperless; with fully scalable cloud hosting packages readily available to all, swapping paper for the Cloud is easier and more affordable than ever. The less paper we use, the better – there are no two ways about it. However, this doesn’t mean our efforts to be more eco-friendly should stop there.
Just recently, RTE – a French energy regulator – called for companies to send fewer emails in order to save energy. Although this may sound a little far-fetched, when considering the entire process that goes into sending a single email, they certainly have a point. It is estimated that a standard email equates to 4g of CO2 emissions, whilst an email with a hefty attachment could rack up to 50g.
So what about our other much-loved tech fads? For one, there’s our love of video streaming – which, according to a recent report by Greenpeace, is not the most environmentally-friendly practice. Above all, it came to light that most of our preferred platforms do not use renewable energy sources. Netflix received an overall grade of D for eco-friendliness, whilst YouTube topped the list with an A.
Music streaming is another popular modern-day pastime, and when you think about the implications of producing a physical CD – from plastic packaging to transportation – streaming online surely seems like the more eco-friendly option. However, it is thought that streaming an album 27 times online may cost more in terms of energy than the production of its physical CD equivalent.
Even our social media activity contributes to our carbon footprint; something as seemingly harmless as uploading a photo to Facebook adds to the strain on data centers. So when it comes to considering your carbon footprint, it is essential to factor in your digital footprint too. This doesn’t just mean pulling out the plug instead of switching to standby mode; it also pays to take a closer look at the services you use. Find out how your preferred companies source their energy, how they power their data centers and what environmental policies they have in place. By favoring more eco-friendly providers, we can continue to live paper-free whilst using technology responsibly.