The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 16, 2021 1:00 am

Zooming in on savings

Something to consider on your next Zoom call: the planet.

There was a record drop in global carbon emissions last year as we sheltered in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the move away from our bustling offices to working from home and more at-home, online entertainment has also affected the environment “due to how internet data is stored and transferred around the world.” 

That's according to Purdue University researchers, who say things such as leaving the camera off during videoconferencing and streaming shows in standard definition can reduce our environmental footprints. 

“Just one hour of videoconferencing or streaming, for example, emits 150 to 1,000 grams of carbon dioxide (a gallon of gasoline burned from a car emits about 8,887 grams), requires 2 to 12 liters of water and demands a land area adding up to about the size of in iPad Mini,” a news release says. “But leaving your camera off during a web call can reduce these footprints by 96%. Streaming content in standard definition rather than in high definition ... could bring an 86% reduction.”

The study was conducted by researchers from Purdue, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University. 

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