climate

German multinational utility E.ON has urged consumers and online users to just listen to music and avoid videos and YouTube when online to be climate-friendly.

“The website always plays a video as well, which unnecessarily increases data transfer,” according to a statement.

The utility has urged consumers to avoid high-quality videos when online to use less energy in data centers, as well as to reduce their carbon footprints.

Furthermore, the utility has called for consumers to use smartphones rather than larger TVs to watch films and series.

When using a smartphone, a consumer surfing the internet for one or two hours a day will need 4KWh per year, equivalent to just over EUR1, however, using a larger TV will require 50KWh, equivalent to EUR15 per year.

The recommendations follow the release of a study conducted by E.ON and Kantar Opinion Research Institute, to understand consumer awareness on how much energy they consume when they are on the internet.

The study has found that:

  • Most Germans underestimate the power requirements of data centers. 71% of surveyed online users have no awareness of how much energy they consume when online or they simply ignore their high consumption of electricity.
  • Two-thirds of Germans say the high energy consumption in data centers is not a major issue for them.
  • Amongst consumers not knowing the impact of energy they use, 57% are prepared to change their behavior in the future.
  • 42% do not want to limit their consumption of Netflix, Sky or Amazon Prime Video for reasons of climate protection.
  • On the other hand, amongst consumers who know the impact of their online use on energy consumption and climate change, almost 50% are not prepared to change their behavior. The other half is already trying to stream as little content as possible.
  • 54% of surveyed consumers say they will not use the internet any more frequently in the future than they do today. 29% say they will increase their internet consumption whilst 15% say they will be online less than at present.
  • 41% say data centers in Germany consume as much electricity as a city of 25,000 (which is the real case on the ground), whilst 9% say they consume the energy equivalent to that of a city of 25,000 households and 41% say they consume as much energy as needed by 100,000 households.
  • Videos account for 80% of global data traffic. Germans alone streamed almost five billion hours’ worth of films and series from the internet last year.

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Anthony Ainsworth, CEO of E.ON Business Solutions, said: "There is a vital need to identify carbon emissions of internet usage in order to take preventive measures. We believe that there is great potential to make data centres energy efficient and carbon neutral."