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Back to Overview Video streaming requires less energy than expected
Although data volumes have multiplied worldwide, data centers hardly need more power than before

For a while it seemed as if the word “streaming shame” could establish itself next to “flight shame”. Among other things, studies by the French think tank “The Shift Project” had contributed to media reports of immense amounts of greenhouse gases that would be released through the use of the Internet. The most CO2-intensive form of streaming, namely the real-time transmission of videos, films and series in HD quality, was therefore the most CO2-intensive. The en:former has also reported on this.

Now four US researchers have recalculated the power consumption and come to a completely different conclusion. According to them, the huge efficiency improvements in the industry have almost completely compensated for the exponential increase in data usage: “Between 2010 and 2018, the number of servers worldwide has increased 26 times, and data traffic has also increased 6.5 times,” German news magazine “Der Spiegel” quotes the study results. “In the same period, however, energy consumption hardly increased at all – in total only by about six percent.

Considering that Internet giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google keep the emissions of their own electricity consumption very low by using sustainably generated electricity, the greenhouse gas balance of a few hours on the Internet should be significantly better than a trip to the video store.

Photo credits: pixinoo, shutterstock.com

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