From: Elisa Wood , Clean Techies, More from this Affiliate
Published June 29, 2012 08:47 AM

Energy Efficiency Without Trying (and With)

John Lennon wrote that life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. Apparently, the same is true of energy efficiency. Energy savings happen when we're busy doing other things — Internet-based things specifically.

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We use email, bank online and download music not to save energy, but to make life easier and more interesting. Energy efficiency is a happy byproduct.

What online pursuits serve up the most energy savings in day-to-day life?

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative, or GeSI, recently commissioned the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Yankee Group to answer this question. The study, "Measuring the Energy Reduction Impact of Selected Broadband-Enabled Activities within Households." looked at eight broadband-related activities in the US, UK, Spain, Italy, Germany and France: telecommuting, Internet news, online banking, e-commerce, music and video downloads or streaming, e-education, digital photography, and e-mail.

Telecommuting provides the greatest energy savings among the activities (83 to 86 percent). From an energy efficiency perspective, it's better to log-on to the office than drive there. Reading the news online and participating in e-education offered the least energy savings. Consumers tend to undertake these activities to complement, not replace, the old-fashion way of doing things. They still read the newspaper and travel to classes, so offset the savings gained by the online activity.

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