Let’s Promote Environmentally Friendly Ways Of Working

Did you know that it is not just paper work but also computer work and the Internet which have a strong environmental impact? How? Mainly because of servers.


There are about 3 million data centers in the US alone and 8.4 million worldwide. Data centers and computers need huge amounts of power to send, filter, and read messages. The information communications and technology industry –internet and cloud services – produces more than 830 million tons of CO2 every year. That adds up to about 2% of all global CO2 emissions and about 7% of the world’s electricity.

These data centres also require huge amounts of water. In fact, most of the energy used  is to keep processors cool as these heat up from being in use 24/7, and increase water usage indirectly from water being used in the same way at the power plants they get their electricity from. In the US alone where most of these data centres are, these were responsible for consumption of 626 billion liters of water in 2014, which includes both water consumed directly at data center sites and water used to generate the electricity that powered them that year. The researchers expect this number to reach 660 billion liters in 2020” (Data Center Knowledge).

But the problem is not just water or energy usage per se but also the type of energy being used which is mainly fossil-fuel based. A 2016 Greenpeace report says the following: “The transition to the cloud could in fact increase the demand for coal and other fossil fuels despite significant gains in energy efficiency and adoption of a commitment to 100% renewable energy because of the dramatic growth in new data center construction by cloud and colocation companies such as AWS and Digital Realty in Virginia and other hot spots that have some of the lowest percentages of renewable electricity in the U.S.

Here is an interesting fact, ADEME (French environmental and energy management agency) cites that the average digital items (mail, download, video, web request) travels about 15,000 km before getting to your screen! Good grief!



Spam e-mail: .3 grams of CO2
Regular e-mail: 4 grams of CO2
E-mail with large attachment: 50 grams of CO2


  1. Be proactive about maintaining a small inbox. Remember that those e-mails from last year aren’t just sitting in your inbox, they’re requiring energy to store them on servers. Delete, delete, delete! (And unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters to lessen your work next time!)
  2. Stop sending unnecessary messages. When possible, avoid messaging and, communicate face-to-face. This avoids putting more strain on data centers as well as building up your work relationship.
  3. Support companies that use renewable energy to power their cloud. This is an article comparing Google, amazon and Microsoft re the greenest cloud. A rivetting read!
  4. Avoid vampire power. When your computer’s turned off but you’re still plugged in and charging, your device will draw .5 to 2 watts of energy per hour. Not a lot, but still… it all begins to add up. Make sure to unplug all electronic devices when not in use to conserve power.
  5. Can you try sending 5-10 less emails per day?

Good luck!

Step 9: Cut your electricity usage

fullsizerender-5Did you know that electricity and heat production  contribute to about a 5th of global greenhouse gas emissions? The burning of coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions. Shocking, eh?

So what can we do to help reduce this? Luckily, it doesn’t mean that we have to go huddle in a blanket in the cold or stay in the dark so reeeeelax! Oh and, WE SAVE MONEY! Yes, indeed!

In the short-term, we can do some simple things like:

  1. Switch off lights when not in use. Uhhhhh – sounds easy and is easy 🙂
  2. Use natural light whenever possible so how about you open those curtains/ blinds?
  3. Change your bulbs to CFL or LED ones which are more energy efficient and last MUCH longer
  4. Try blackout night: Why not have a couple of nights a week when you switch off electricity and have just candles burning? Hopefully beeswax or soya flake ones as paraffin ones can be toxic in enclosed spaces (next post). People with small kids might forego this, understandably.
  5. Unplug your appliances when not in use – they still use electricity even when switched off!
  6. Go for energy saving models when buying or replacing appliances
  7. This one I found on wikihow and LOVE it: Reduce your reliance on appliances. In the old days, people didn’t need large appliances to run their households; experiment with ways to use only what you really need. Using fewer appliances can make some tasks more time-consuming, but if you get the whole family involved you won’t be spending too much extra time on chores. And you will get pleasure out of a lot of things the slower way.
    Most people wash their clothes more than necessary; try reducing the number of loads you do each week.
    Hang a clothesline in the backyard and let your clothes line dry instead of using the dryer.
    Wash your dishes by hand (using the water conservation method) instead of using the dishwasher.
    Limit your baking to one day a week, during which you make several dishes within the same period of time. This way you won’t have to heat the oven over and over.
    Get rid of small appliances you don’t really need, like plug-in air fresheners (these are gross and toxic anyway). Open the windows instead!
  8. Insulate your home- this can substantially reduce heating and cooling costs.
  9. Air conditioners and heaters: In winter, heat your home to a lower temperature rather than have a sauna at home – why not wear a sweater instead of a t-shirt and pretending it is summer? And the opposite in summer- either forego the ac (guess this is not doable in a few countries) or have it at a warmer setting like 22-24 degrees celsius.

So, go on, try these at home 🙂 and let me know how you fared.

As far as the long term is concerned, we need to invest in cleaner energies and technologies, write to our representatives/ politicians and governments to push them to pass laws encouraging planet-friendly living, teach our children to have as zero-waste a life style as possible….