Interesting article from Image Reports about whether or not digital media is getting away with too much when it comes to the sustainability argument. While the environmental impact of print has been heavily scrutinized, the information technology industry has been given a much freer ride on this issue.
This article appeared on the Image Reports website on March 30, 2015.
Does an iPhone use more energy than your fridge? Mark Mills, CEO of Digital Power, made that claim in a study about Cloud computing two years ago, sparking a furious online debate. American think tank, the Breakthrough Institute, crunched the numbers and concluded that a typical iPhone consumed 388kWh of energy a year whereas some household refrigerators used as little as 322kWh.
As you might expect, such claims have been hotly contested: critics accused Mills of assuming heavy smartphone use and suggested there were just two many unquantifiables – including the level of data usage and the quality of WiFi connections – to make such definitive claims. Yet the furore did make one serious point: whereas the environmental impact of print has been relentlessly scrutinised, the information technology industry has – apart from the odd broadside from bodies such as Greenpeace – been given a much freer ride on this issue.
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