Makes you think…..

January 1, 2013

Recent articles by James Glanz and Stephen Bayley have given me pause for thought. The Internet is fast becoming the C21st version of the C19th dark satanic mills and coal mines in terms of the pollution it is creating.”Server farms are costly, inefficient and environmentally destructive.” they say.

We are given the impression that using the Internet and your gleaming new tablet is free, clean and using next-to-no resources. In fact, the opposite is true. The huge international Internet companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon etc need enormous Server farms to handle the traffic. Google draws 260 million watts night and day 365 days a year.

“The Cloud”, which we are increasingly being asked to use to store our data (such as this blog!) isn’t a white fluffy cloud at all. It is really warehouses full of hot computers being cooled using vast amounts of electricity. And this energy use is growing year on year. Makes you think….

Server Farm

Another thing I learnt recently (From “Lighting” magazine) is that carbon emissions equivalent to 100 less coal fired power stations would be achieved if Lighting across the globe was updated and made more efficient. If people worldwide (we are ahead of the game here) finally replaced their GLS lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes with LEDs and switched off lights when they left a room immense long-term savings could be made. Amazingly, carbon emissions equivalent to 34 less power stations would be achieved if the poorer parts of the world just stopped using paraffin lamps and used electric lighting instead. I didn’t realise that there are still 2 billion people across the planet without mains electricity. Many of these people use paraffin lamps which give off enormous greenhouse emissions as well as being quite toxic to the human body after long-term exposure. Makes you think……