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Internet Uses 9.4% of Electricity In the US

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the that's-it dept.

Power 271

ribuck writes "Equipment powering the internet accounts for 9.4% of electricity demand in the U.S., and 5.3% of global demand, according to research by David Sarokin at online pay-for-answers service Uclue. Worldwide, that's 868 billion kilowatt-hours per year. The total includes the energy used by desktop computers and monitors (which makes up two-thirds of the total), plus other energy sinks including modems, routers, data processing equipment and cooling equipment."

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hey, (1, Redundant)

js92647 (917218) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775177)

cool non-story that dates back to August 17th.

Suddenly the MPAA & RIAA become Environentalis (1, Troll)

he1icine (512651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775191)

You know someone over at the MPAA or RIAA is going to spin this in a way that pits pirates as harmful to the future of the planet on an environmental level now too.

Re:Suddenly the MPAA & RIAA become Environenta (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775239)

This has been said before; but, DON'T GIVE THEM IDEAS!

Re:Suddenly the MPAA & RIAA become Environenta (2, Insightful)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775487)

They'll have a hard time refuting this study [seanbonner.com] !

Bittorrent (4, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775479)

So then I guess you are saying that since bittorrent comsumes about 50% of the internet bandwith it consumes perhaps half 4% of the power. Of course since bit torrent can be an edge network this might be more or less than 50% of power depending on if the edge is more or less efficient thant the backbone. My guess is that it is less efficient but that's arguable. One factor is if you want your home heated or not. That waste heat from the edge servers is heating homes and thus is an equivalent savings on the energy needed to heat homes. The opposite is true if you had the AC on. On the backbone all waste heat is working against the AC.

By the same token spam is also a major consume of world power. Now that would be a good reason to go against that!

If we assume most traffic is one the backbone and that the backbone scales as the number of servers running it. Then we only have a few more years before the power consumed by the internet will be larger than todays total power budget. This seems impossible. Ergo the traffic must be out on the edges. And there the scaling may be different with power.

Re:Bittorrent (1)

he1icine (512651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775581)

I'm not saying this, I'm saying that I'm sure there are people in the RIAA or MPAA who would try to spin it that way.

HMMM (1)

badman99 (674229) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775557)

Ahhhh !! Computers Can Do That ? (c) Homer Simpson

No (Re: Suddenly the MPAA & RIAA become Enviro (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775631)

1% is wasted Decrypting DRM and 2% is wasted by reverse engineers trying to figure out how to use the hardware, software or media that they legitimately purchased.

Combine that with patent wars that discourage standard replaceable parts, and corporate profits encouraging disposable products in general.

 

Re:Suddenly the MPAA & RIAA become Environenta (2, Insightful)

N1ck0 (803359) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775663)

Oh yeah that internet is sooo much less energy efficent then the manufacture, packaging, storage, shipping, and retail outlets, etc for billions of CDs and DVDs. Oh don't forget to count millions of little spinning DC motors, actuators, signal amplifiers, and laser diodes.

Re:Suddenly the MPAA & RIAA become Environenta (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775745)

How is this trolling? We might need a -1 Not funny, but trolling?

Re:Suddenly the MPAA & RIAA become Environenta (1)

akgooseman (632715) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775747)

That's patently ridiculous. Everyone knows there's a positive correlation [wikipedia.org] between the lack of pirates and global warming.

where's the derivative factoid (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775195)

about World of Warcraft, a fictitious "country", using 10x more electricity than a real country, Vanuatu?

i actually just pulled that factoid out of my ass, but i'd bet good money, considering this research on the Internet and power usage, that it is true after all

Save Vanuatu! Unplug WoW!

Re:where's the derivative factoid (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775253)

hmm it's convincing but i don't think many people would go for it. lets try and spin it the other way around...

Sharing WoW accounts reduces electricity usage!
Remember: when you play WoW alone, you play WoW with Hitler!

Re:where's the derivative factoid (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775503)

well yes that actually could be true if you consider small protectorates like the vatican city and such

I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775721)

I don't understand how much energy that really is. Can you convert the units to Libraries of Congress?

Re:where's the derivative factoid (5, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775789)

i actually just pulled that factoid out of my ass
Welcome to the Internet, you just became a full fledged member.

What about energy-saving servers? (3, Insightful)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775197)

By how much would our energy use go down if we transitioned to servers and network equipment that use less energy? 9% seems like an awful lot to me, especially since the US relies on coal for its power production (something that generates lots of CO2)

Already doing it? (1)

slysithesuperspy (919764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775611)

I'm sure everytime I've read something about a datacenter they speak in terms of performance / watt. So, that would indicate they were already doing it.

Re:What about energy-saving servers? (3, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775757)

By how much would our energy use go down if we transitioned to servers and network equipment that use less energy?

The first place I would look to conserve energy is turning things off as opposed to standby. Televisions use 23% of their annual electricity while in standby, for VCRs that jumps to 50%. http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/info/documents/pdfs/lbnl-42393.pdf [energy.gov] So if we turned monitors and computers and wireless routers and printers etc, completely off when we were not using them the savings would likely be significant. As an added bonus your computer can't be a zombie spam bot when the power is turned off.

Re:What about energy-saving servers? (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775985)

The first place I would look to conserve energy is turning things off as opposed to standby. Televisions use 23% of their annual electricity while in standby, for VCRs that jumps to 50%. http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/info/documents/pdfs/lbnl-42393.pdf [energy.gov] So if we turned monitors and computers and wireless routers and printers etc, completely off when we were not using them the savings would likely be significant. As an added bonus your computer can't be a zombie spam bot when the power is turned off.
After standby items, I'd (if it were possible) remove the LEDs from all my electronics. Why does a monitor, computers, router, keyboard, cellphone charger, etc. have green LEDs to let me know that they are on (not standby) while I am using them. I can see a flashing led to alert me that they are in standby so I don't accidentally turn off the item (or a switched diagnostic mode that lights LEDs), but always on LEDs are a waste.

I wonder how much of that 9% is used to light the billions of LEDs that are not needed?

Re:What about energy-saving servers? (1)

onemorechip (816444) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776005)

A VCR or DVR that is truly powered off is not going to be much use, however, since it won't turn on to record the shows you want to watch.

Re:What about energy-saving servers? (1)

Inverted Intellect (950622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775915)

CO2? Don't forget radioactive particles. Coal ash contains trace amounts of the radioactive metals uranium and thorium, along with toxic elements such as cadmium.

AND GOOGLE GETS A FREE RIDE ! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775199)

time to start a tiered service

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775203)

So...? What, you want us to turn them all off?

Re:And... (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775713)

So...? What, you want us to turn them all off?

Yes, as a matter of fact Ted Stevens has introduced a Senate Bill to install a switch in his office, so he can turn off the internet when he's not using it.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775887)

A switch? Are you sure he didn't mean an ignition key instead?

Close to accurate? (3, Informative)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775211)

The information he seems to be pulling from was from the early 2000's. Many things have changed since early 2000 lowering the amount of power needed for the average home PC to operate. Most users in early 2000 were using CRT monitors which use almost 3 times as much power than a modern LCD. If I took the time to research 2000-2002 vs components in the last two years I bet you will see the power consumption of average hardware is probably close to half as much.

Re:Close to accurate? (4, Informative)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775251)

Many things have changed since early 2000 lowering the amount of power needed for the average home PC to operate. Most users in early 2000 were using CRT monitors which use almost 3 times as much power than a modern LCD. If I took the time to research 2000-2002 vs components in the last two years I bet you will see the power consumption of average hardware is probably close to half as much.

And the average cpu uses a LOT more juice. So does the average video card. Who's buying all those 550 watt PSUs?

And the average home has more computers in it than it did 5 years ago. Who do you know who has only one computer nowadays?

Re:Close to accurate? (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775313)

A 550 watt PSU is like a red sportscar or a phat offroad vehicle.

The person who buys it may not fully utilize it.

It just seems "the thing to get".

Something else to consider is the rise of laptops.

Re:Close to accurate? (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775385)

A 550 watt PSU won't even adequately power a SLI/Crossfire setup. They're selling kilowatt PSU's these days. Hell, I see one outfit selling a 1.6KW PSU. Now that might be overkill.

Re:Close to accurate? (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775605)

A 550 watt PSU won't even adequately power a SLI/Crossfire setup. They're selling kilowatt PSU's these days. Hell, I see one outfit selling a 1.6KW PSU. Now that might be overkill.


How is that possible? It would mean either the power supply can only supply around 1.3kW, or you're gonna have to hire an electrician to wire in a new 20 amp circuit just for that PC.

A regular 15 amp service at 110V only gives you 1650 watts of power. A PSU rated at 1600W, at "80+" certification (which so far appears to mean they're 80-82% efficient) is going to need 2kW of input power.

Also assuming it draws it at PF 1.0, which isn't unusual since newer power supplies come with power factor correction devices, but if it doesn't, you're going to be close to even a 20 amp circuit from the virtual power (virtual power still means you're handling real currents).

Of course, those who aren't in Japan or North America/South America, do have the benefit of nearly 3kW of power per circuit (using 220V at 13 amps). Might be the power supply that can't be used with 110V...

Re:Close to accurate? (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775655)

A 550 watt PSU won't even adequately power a SLI/Crossfire setup.

Ok, point taken.

So, the underutilized red sports car analog now officially belongs to the 1+ KW SLI camp.

Non-SLI 550-Watt single-GPU rigs have accordingly been demoted to being the analog of the underutilized blue sports car.

Thanks for the tip!

Re:Close to accurate? (0, Troll)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775375)

550 watts? That's positively tiny. My current computer's supply is an entire kilowatt. :-)

Re:Close to accurate? (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775969)

Why do you assume that this 550 Watt power supply is constantly drawing 100% power? Usually your computer will use a small fraction of the maximum power it is rated at when your CPU, disks, and video cards are idle (which is pretty much any time you are not playing an FPS or editting a video).

Also consider that today's power supplies are often >80% efficient, which is probably doubled in the last five years. In addition, Windows now implements CPU Idle functionality which it did not do in Win 98 IIRC, resulting in a constant 100% CPU power draw.

Re:Close to accurate? (2, Informative)

vio (95817) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776057)

And the average cpu uses a LOT more juice. So does the average video card. Who's buying all those 550 watt PSUs?
And the average home has more computers in it than it did 5 years ago. Who do you know who has only one computer nowadays?
Actually, the average CPU nowadays is pretty good at dropping down in power usage when idling (something mostly unheard of in the "mhz race" that characterized the early new millennium). And most people have integrated "video cards" now (ie. built into the motherboard) which use way less power... the 550w PS are for the crazies (extreme minority).

And lets not forget that the ratio of (power efficient) laptops to computers has increased dramatically over the years...

But yea, there are more computers than ever :-/

Re:Close to accurate? (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775501)

Yes, but I would wager that a good share of those people that were running CRTs 5-7 years ago are still running CRTs at home. Most home users cannot justify the cost of a new monitor unless their old one dies. And CRTs are pretty reliable for the most part. And as others are pointing out, the CPUs are pulling 10x the wattage they were a few years ago along with video cards that require exotic cooling solutions and extra power wires. We are a gluttonous society.

Oxygen to the Brain (2, Insightful)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775219)

This figures.... doesn't the brain use about 30% of the blood oxygen.

Re:Oxygen to the Brain (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775343)

This figures.... doesn't the brain use about 30% of the blood oxygen.

I fownd if i skip spailing and grammr i cut my brane oxign yusag in haf. i gotta green brane, dood
         

* * R E G U L A T I O N * * (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775725)

So why isn't my monthly electric bill 10 times more than my ISP bill instead of the other way around?

The electric utility infrastructure is over 10 times more expensive to install and support.

Am I the only person that is tired of getting reamed by this monopolistic pig.

At least gimme fiber for the same price.

If we can't get real competition, then how about some good old fashioned government REGULATION!!!!!!

meh (4, Insightful)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775223)

They shouldn't count PCs, they have many more uses than just the internet.
Also, pirates counter global warming...

Re:meh (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775527)

Do they really? Sure, you can write documents on them. But you can't electronically send those documents. You can print them, if you're at work, chances are you'll use a network printer, which usually means internet access as well.

You can use it for games, but the worlds most popular games are online games, no doubt about that.

You can use it for many other things as well, but when you think about it, most of the things you do with a PC today are closely related to the internet. If I for some reason permanently lost internet access, I wouldn't bother with computers at all, I'd pick up another hobby. Initially, PCs started the popularization of the internet, but nowadays I actually think its the other way around. So its only fair to include PCs as an extension of the internet, in my humble opinion.

Re:meh^2 (2, Interesting)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775593)

Agreed on the PCs, especially those in business settings. Many of those are forbidden or otherwised blocked from the Internet. And would exist and be run without the Internet. Their predecessors were.

Furthermore, a large fraction of the remaining 1/3rd of power is servers. Many of them would be run even without the internet, most probably as internal servers for 1-800 phone reps.

The actual power attributable to the Internet is probably quite small. And certainly less than the gasoline and other motor fuels used in personal shopping/research/entertainment trips reduced by the Ineternet.

Please look at the total picture. Not some sensational part.

Re:meh (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775949)

They shouldn't count PCs, they have many more uses than just the internet.

At night when they are left on and nobody is using them they just act as space heaters. Now consider a building that is running both A/C and is full of idle computers and you have a lot of wasted energy. I know many people say that stand-by use more energy than necessary, but it uses a heck of a lot less than one left on for no reason.

99.9% (5, Funny)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775231)

and 99.9 percent of this 9.4% is a result of pr0n!

Re:99.9% (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775319)

Only 9.4%? Come on, everybody!!! We can do better, I can't think of anything more important than using the Intranets. Let's get this up to 20% usage by year's end. If we all work together we can make this happen. Turn on, log on and never log off!

Re:99.9% (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775381)

and 99.9 percent of this 9.4% is a result of pr0n!

But it makes up for it all by reducing the birth rate.
       

Re:99.9% (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775625)

But it makes up for it all by reducing the birth rate.

Were you referring to the internet, or the pr0n?

Careful how you count (5, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775235)

Remember the article that more are browsing the web *instead* of watching TV? That would mean that TV power is going to PC's instead. (Except maybe for those who leave both on, and some PC's + monitor take more power than a TV)

Re:Careful how you count (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775353)

What about when I read CNN or Slashdot.org through MythBrowser on my 55 inch projection TV?

Re:Careful how you count (1)

MonorailCat (1104823) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775391)

Thanks to my tv tuner card I'm doing *both* muahahahaha...

more seriously, I question this study's results, mostly the wisdom in lumping PC power requirements entirely under the 'internet' umbrella

Re:Careful how you count (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775559)

Computer monitors generally use more power than (standard def) TVs. A 19" CRT monitor will probably use 60watts, while a 19" CRT TV will probably use 40watts.

The flat-screen monitor trend will no doubt reverse this, eventually, but the disparity is big, and there's a tremendous installed base of CRT monitors out there. Not to mention that flat-screen TVs are slowly catching on.

What nonsense. (3, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775255)

Tubes require no electricity!

Re:What nonsense. (2, Funny)

micksam7 (1026240) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775877)

But the tube pumps do!

And don't forget... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775257)

...all the water consumed to squelch burning servers from the /. effect.

Re:And don't forget... (1)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775515)

Digg has the Digg effect. Slashdot is a verb.

Re:And don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775657)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot_effect [wikipedia.org] . Note also that "Digg effect" redirects to this link.

Re:And don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775761)

Now, if I'm powering my notebook while I drive, am I consuming more energy than plugged in at home?
OR, if I'm just sitting idling my car latched into the local library's wireless network ... higher than w/o considering the library's additional server usage?
I really confused about those numbers now ...

really? (2, Insightful)

xordos (631109) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775267)

From the Article: PCs&Monitors alone use 235b out of the 350b, so it means PC&Monitors will use ~6% US power, something wrong here.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775429)

No. Like National stats in the US, these figures are incorrect, bias, obfuscated and useless.

Even if you average, mean or mean-average power consumption of (who knows how many computers there are really connected) all the computers (routers, switches, firewalls, etc) you still can't get a decent figure.

The desired number is impossible to calculate.

But it makes for great USATODAY pie chart journalism.

Hybrid desktops? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775273)

So are we going to see desktops switching to a slower VIA-type processor and video card when not running CPU/GPU intensive applications? How about monitors switching from backlit to reflective mode when the built-in camera detects abundant light?

Re:Hybrid desktops? (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775473)

So are we going to see desktops switching to a slower VIA-type processor and video card when not running CPU/GPU intensive applications?

Seems like having the same processor draw less power when not under load would be more straightforward. It almost seems like there's something out there that does this already... Some kind of "portable computer" or something crazy like that.

(but yeah, it'd be nice if that technology found its way into mostly over-powered general purpose desktops)

Re:Hybrid desktops? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775967)

Not the same thing. Smaller circuits inside more complex processors leak more power through inadequate insulation. Even if schematics of the simpler processor was replicated inside the more complex one, it would draw more power than a dedicated chip.

Ridiculous Units (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775287)

> that's 868 billion kilowatt-hours per year

That's simply 99 gigawatts. "kilowatt-hours per year" is silly.

Re:Ridiculous Units (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775455)

While you're right that 868 billion kwh/yr. is about 99 gigawatt-hours per hour, or 99 gigawatts continuous, I think it is moderately more understandable to use the more traditional time-based watt-hour units rather than the continuos watt units, as that's what people are used to seeing on their electric bill. I'd have probably described it as 868 terawatt-hours annually, though, and put 868 billion kwh in parentheses.

Re:Ridiculous Units (2, Interesting)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775731)

Or according to Einstein (and Google):

868 billion kilowatt hours = 3.1248 × 1018 joules
(3.1248 × (10 ** 18) joules) / (c ** 2) = 34.768089 kilograms

So keeping the current Internet running requires turning nearly 35 kilograms of mass into electricity.

Re:Ridiculous Units (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775987)

So keeping the current Internet running requires turning nearly 35 kilograms of mass into electricity.

The inefficiency is astounding, given the amount of energy turned into mass in the bodies of all of the users.

Re:Ridiculous Units (1)

NalosLayor (958307) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775809)

Actually...taking that a bit further...

868E9 kwh / yr * 1yr/(365.25*24)hr = 99E6 kw = 99GW

Assuming that every computer uses ~350Watts we get 99E9*W / 350 (W/Computer) ~= 283 Million computers

divide that by ~6 billion people on earth and you get 1 computer for every 21 people on earth. That seems to be a fairly conservative number.

Re:Ridiculous Units (1)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775477)

Yes. It is, but unfortunately electricity is sold by the kilowatt-hour in the USA. I'd prefer the joule, myself, and people should measure power in watts, but alas we're stuck with the "my car gets fourteen rods to the hogshead and that's the way I like it" mentality. Even if you're hung up on the old miles/lbs/ergs/horsepower system units like kilowatt-hours per year should seem pretty stupid.

Re:Ridiculous Units (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775541)

That's simply 99 gigawatts. "kilowatt-hours per year" is silly.

That's 120 megajerks per fortnight to you American folks.

Re:Ridiculous Units (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775719)

> that's 868 billion kilowatt-hours per year

That's simply 99 gigawatts. "kilowatt-hours per year" is silly.
I guess you also don't say your car goes 70 miles per gallon, but your car goes 105 per acre, right?
(I hope I got that calculation right; those US units are a true nightmare ...)

Re:Ridiculous Units (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775753)

99 jigawatts! Great Scott! That's 97.79 more than I need!

Not silly! (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775851)

"kilowatt-hours per year" is silly.


Not sillier than "miles per gallon". Why do I say my car gets 15 kilometers/liter, instead of saying it gets 1500(square centimeter)**(-2)? Because what I need is a practical way to determine how much fuel I need for a given trip, not a theoretical number.


When you mention "kilowatt-hours per year" you get kind of information that's different from simple kilowatts. Power consumption is not uniform, to supply 8760 kilowatt-hours per year you need more generation capacity one kilowatt. Your generator may sit idle some of the time and generate more than a kilowatt at other times.
 

MOAR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775295)

I still need moar internets, damn you!

if they say so (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775297)

However, we would still have 20 office computers to run our accounting system with or without the internet. Maybe the 4 remotes would be 1 with old-school leased lines. They could be older/smaller if i didn't need so much power to run firewall/AV underneath tho.

While new machines can suck the juice the previous one had a 2000 watt disk drive.

Here at least the internet only added a couple wall-warts and an extra GHz on the CPUs.

At home, there are 2 decent computers pretty much online only. That is about half so there is an increase at home.

As usual no clue where they get the info so speculate away...

Flawed research (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775309)

Only desktop computers aren't just for the internet - this fuckwit didn't account for that did he.

yet more flawed finding from some bozo - not news.

Blame Game (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775325)

It's Al Gore's fault.

Low Wattage Laptops (5, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775327)

This is why I think the OLPC project shouldn't be limited to third world countries. These laptops run on only a couple of watts! If more first-world computer users used them for basic surfing instead of 200 watt gaming rigs, much energy/CO2/fossil fuel could be saved I think.

let's analyze this a bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775341)

95 percent of that is thanks to spam

95 percent of spam come from windoze boxen

95 percent of windoze operating systems come from micro$oft

american customers pay 100 percent of the bill

Support systems (1)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775397)

So everything in my building is support for the Internet? Seems like I might use the AC for something else than cooling a PC that has net access.

Err, so "the internet actually makes up 3.13% (4, Insightful)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775431)

The total includes the energy used by desktop computers and monitors (which makes up two-thirds of the total)

So "The Internet" makes up 3.13%, not 9.4%

The other 6.27% is from desktop computers. Which may or may not be doing "internet stuff" at any moment in time. Lumping all desktop machines into the count is disingenuous.

It's still a bigger number than I would have thought. And it is a bit of an eye opener to realize how much power all those PCs are using up.

Don't forget (2, Insightful)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775441)

Don't forget the vacuum cleaners used to clean the carpets in the buildings where the network designers and operators work, or the stereos that play music while people are browsing the net, or the electric lights that let the non-touch-typists see their keyboards at night.

Come on, unless they're somehow able to measure electricity used only while a computer user is actively viewing Internet content it's absurd to count desktop computers in the total. Or, alternatively, it's absurd to attribute the electricity usage to "the Internet". It would be valid to estimate the electricity usage of computers and/or data communications equipment, but to try to pin a number on "the Internet" and include multifunction equipment that serves non-Internet functions is just sloppy.

Come to think of it, there are probably lots of FT-2000s that carry some Internet circuits and some PSTN circuits, how do they account for that? What about the 5Es and DMSs that are carrying modem calls? Do they accurately attribute the percentage of the switch's electrical usage based on the percentage of modem vs voice calls?

This makes sense (1)

dontspitconfetti (1153473) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775587)

Most people never turn off their monitors or computers when they're not using them, so 9.4% seems accurate.

Re:This makes sense (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776009)

I'm not sure if I believe you or not on computers, but I definitely don't for monitors. Who doesn't set their monitor to shut off after a fairly short time? Heck, in Windows, that's the default! How many people do you see changing it so that it doesn't?

wow; you mean porn uses 9.3% of U.S. Electricity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775639)

astounding

Why such a negative spin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775675)

90.6% of electricity in the US is not used by the Internet.

Much better.

But what does it save? (5, Insightful)

redefinescience (983582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775703)

I wonder how much energy is actually SAVED because of the internet, quick example: email. How much energy is used shipping a letter across the country?

Re:But what does it save? (1)

skelly33 (891182) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775775)

My sentiments exactly. What are the savings in reduction of transportation costs related to distribution and acquisition of information? It's probably unquantifiable; the usage amount seems meaningless without this other half of the equation.

What about all that eBay crap? (2, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776027)

How much energy is spend delivering fake moon rocks, Star Trek sets, and other must-have items purchased from eBay?

So what they're actually trying to say... (1)

Skrapion (955066) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775705)

The total includes the energy used by desktop computers and monitors (which makes up two-thirds of the total)
So what they're actually trying to say is that computers use 9.4% of the electricity in the US. This seems to be a pretty important difference.

The flip side (5, Interesting)

femto (459605) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775715)

It would also be interesting to know how much energy the Internet saves. For example instead of people flying around they talk on VoIP or have a teleconference. Documents are emailed rather than having to be flown around the world. Music and movies are downloaded rather than people driving to the shops for a disk. Or is the Internet is promoting long distance relationships that otherwise just would not be?

The numbers do suggest that electronic equipment needs to be more efficient.

But how much energy does it save? (1)

ZeldorBlat (107799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775723)

What about the fact that I don't need to drive to the store anymore to buy something? What about the fact that I can receive and pay my bills online without using any paper? There are tons of examples.

I have to believe that much of that energy use is "stolen" from other things that are no long necessary because of the internet.

Obligatory Simpsons (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775779)

"Excellent, excellent..." C. Montgomery Burns

I woner about accuaracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20775821)

558KWh per pc on average as reported by a company selling a power saving device... Plus is that average for all PC's or just business, or home pc's? This is a report on Internet power usage, how to separate the business pc's that don't have Internet? He is pulling the data from lots of separate sources and making a lot of assumptions.

GRANTED this is a quick Internet "answer a question" not an actual research project.

Slashdotted. (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775843)

Coralized link [nyud.net] for those who wish to read TFA.

Doubt that's true (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775861)

"Equipment powering the internet accounts for 9.4% of electricity demand in the U.S."

That doesn't seem to pass the initial sniff test. I know that on the consumer end, it's nowhere near that amount. And on the business end, at least from what I'm familiar with, the percentage is still lower than that. Sure, various ISPs, Google, and other places may drive it up, but still...

It looks like they are assuming that if a PC is connected to the internet, that all electricity consumed by that pc, monitor, etc., is directly attributable to the internet. Pretty blatantly false, if that's what they're doing. Presumably the group doing this study benefits from exaggerating this statistic in someway.

I'm sure it's more (2, Informative)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775871)

If you are including every device contected to the Internet, then surely it is more than that. The vending machine in my building is on the Internet. My phone is on the Internet. My laser printer is on the Internet, and in a way, I believe my cable box is too. Between infrastructure, servers, telecommunications, and end systems, a huge fraction of the electricity-using devices we interact with are on the Net.

internet consumes the same as the space shuttle? (3, Interesting)

viking80 (697716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775873)

9.4% is probably way off, but here are some conversions/comparisons anyway:
868 billion kilowatt-hours per year = 10^11W=100GW
Space shuttle liftoff: 100GW

Aw, man... (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775885)

I suddenly feel really bad for having a 300 watt CRT. But it does power down most of the time, so that makes up for it, right?

Desktops? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20775959)

So, when im not online and instead working on a document, they consider this 'useage' ?

What if im multitasking? 100% of my power usage isnt going to view that webpage or email, its a small percentage.

We need "lightbulb" computers (2, Interesting)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 6 years ago | (#20776015)

Trouble is that leaving computers running is arguably a rational business tradeoff. If a desktop computer draws 250 watts (and most don't average that high), and is left on during all non-business hours (assume one works only an 8-hour day and no weekends) that is 128 hours or 32 kWh or, at $0.10/kWh, $3.20.

If your entire employee cost (pay, bonus, worker's comp, medical, office-space, etc.) is only $60,000/year, an employee needs to save less than 10-minutes/week to break even.

One coder measured his own pretty high-end machine (including support for 3 monitors) at less than 140 watts when not doing heavy processing. This doesn't include the monitor which in most systems sleeps after a short period anyway. If we use 150 watts, a 9 hour day, and $100,000 employee cost then break-even happens by the time you have saved 2 minutes 15 seconds per week or less than 30 seconds per day.

Now if it takes 2 watts cooling per watt of usage then the benefits of shutting down are greater. But on the other hand, none of the office buildings where I've worked have metered power or cooling (except for custom auxiliary units) so from the tenant perspective, leaving the machine running has no impact on power or cooling costs.

Sure, for many, waiting for a computer to boot is part of the morning routine and provides an excuse to go fill the coffee cup. But if buildings metered power and cooling usage and if computers were made to save-state and swich off and back on like a light - or at least in just 1-2 seconds - people would be much more willing to power down not only at night but at lunch and whenever they aren't using the machine.
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