energy consumption


Is Streaming Media Bad For the Planet?Streaming is fast becoming the way most of us consume media, whether it’s music, TV of film. But caught up by the sheer convenience of it all, it’s easy to forget to question its environmental impacts. Could streaming actually be bad for the planet?

That’s just what a study by Music Tank set out to discover. Some of the results are interesting. How, for instance, does streaming music compare to buying physical media? The report explains:

Streaming or downloading 12 tracks, without compression, just 27 times by one user would, in energy terms, equate to the production and shipping of one physical 12-track CD album.

In other words, repeated streaming of favorite tracks might not be a desirable long-terms media solution. Fortunately some apps—like Spotify—feature a local caching feature, which avoida repeatedly streaming the same song over and over.

But what about the fact that teenagers use YouTube as their main music source these days? The mighty ‘Tube’s rise is seeing it use more and more electricity—and the report speculates that its energy consumption looks set to rise from around 0.1 percent of 2010 global electricity levels to 1 percent by 2013.

The report offers one extremely leftfield solution to the problem: observing Moore’s law, it speculates that a 1 petabyte drive capable of storing all the songs ever recorded could soon cost just $100. Ship that to every user, it suggests, along with some remote server-based player required to access the content, and the planet’s resources won’t be drained as quickly. Convinced? [Music Tank via Paid Content]

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Thursday, September 13th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments


In-App Ads Are Destroying Your Battery LifeYou intuitively know that all of those applications running in the background on your phone are latently eating away at your battery’s charge, but a new study reveals that the main culprit isn’t any useful function. It’s location-pinging ads.

The study, conducted by a team lead by Abhinav Pathak from Purdue University, analyzed the energy used by several popular free Android apps (PDF) like Angry Birds, Facebook, the New York Times, and Chess. The team developed an “energy profiler” they call “Eprof” that determines what processes within an app are using energy. The results are shocking: 65 to 75 percent of energy consumed by the free apps studied are used by third-party advertising modules within the programs. These apps continue to run in the background even when you’re not actually using the app. Only 10 to 30 percent of that energy is used to power the applications’ “core functions.”

Apps shouldn’t continue to serve you ads when you’re not locking at the apps. It’s a bug, or something more nefarious. According to the researchers, developers don’t notice energy consumption problems—bugs or otherwise—because most apps are “energy oblivious,” meaning that the developers don’t pay attention to how much energy apps use. [Eurosys 2012 via New Scientist]

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Monday, March 19th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments


New York City's Energy Consumption Mapped Out, Building-by-BuildingConvinced you’re more environmentally aware than your neighbors? Now you can find out: scientists have mapped the entire energy use of New York City, building by building.

The interactive map, created by Bianca Howard, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at Columbia University, uses publicly available data to work out which buildings are using the most energy and how they are using it. Then, it displays the energy use on a color-map. Howard’s PhD supervisors, Professor Modi, explains:

“While discussions frequently focus on electricity use, homes in New York City, whether a townhouse or a large apartment building, use far more energy in form of heat rather than electricity. Nearly all of this heat is obtained from heating oil or natural gas. In addition, current electricity distribution infrastructure in many urban areas relies on large amounts of electricity brought in from outside the city, making it difficult to support increased future use without requiring significant investment of resources and funds. We are looking at ways we can address both these issues-reducing our heating bills and increasing local electricity generation capacity.”

The resulting interactive map is great fun to play around with, allowing you to see how energy use is split down between electricity, space heating and cooling, and water heating. The best bit is that, as mentioned, its detail lets you study energy use down to the scale of individual buildings. You can play around with the map here. Every city needs something like this. [Columbia Engineering via Boing Boing]

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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