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How to limit carbon footprint of emails, cloud storage

Do you know the carbon cost of emails or data saved on the cloud? Here’s a lowdown on that and methods to reduce their impact on the environment

Shifting from paper to the internet or soft copies for documentation is seen as a move to reduce carbon footprint. But, the process to save these messages, emails, and data in cloud storage consumes a lot of energy as it requires more servers, which is again detrimental to the environment.

On average, an email with heavy attachment carries 50 grams of carbon footprint and a normal email carries around 4g of carbon footprint. And an email kept for a year releases 19g of CO2. This means an individual, on an average, contributes 300 pounds of CO2 emissions in the environment in a year.

When we transmit the data into the cloud server, on an average it requires 3-7 kWh per GB, while if you save the data files in your hard drive it takes only about 0.005 watt-hours per GB.

Here’s how you can reduce your carbon footprint by wisely saving your data:

  1. Send limited/necessary emails: Avoid sending unnecessary emails, instead use internal messaging tools for communication like Slack. Avoid sending unwanted follow-ups like Thank you, got your email or forgot to attach the files. Try not to send heavy files as an attachment. Either compress them before sending or use file hosting services like WeTranfer for high-quality files. Also, you can limit the number of recipients.
  2. Use your browser wisely: Use bookmarks instead of repeating identical searches and close all unwanted tabs. Avoid searching through a search engine, instead, type the URL or link directly on the address bar with the correct keyword. Taking this direct route will save a lot of energy.
  3. Use equipment wisely: Switch off your router when not in use. Do not use your mobile connection when at home as it consumes more energy than WiFi. Minimise the use of internet-enabled streaming on your television.
  4. Unsubscribe from the unwanted newsletter: Restrict your social media app notifications in your emails as they usually send in duplicated information. Clear your trash and unwanted emails regularly.
  5. Don’t save heavy files: Do not store heavy audio, video or image files on the cloud. Keep cleaning your cloud storage and opt for local storage so that it limits the energy consumption.
Sampurna Maity
| Writer | Dancer | Travel Enthusiast | Foodie |


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