Daily Management Review

Carbon Footprint Increases By Leaving Camera On During Video Calls, Streaming Videos In HD: New Study


Carbon Footprint Increases By Leaving Camera On During Video Calls, Streaming Videos In HD: New Study
There can be an increase in carbon emissions by leaving a computer's camera on during video calls, claimed a study from a United States based University.
Between 100 to 150 grams of carbon dioxide can be emitted during videoconferencing or streaming for an hour, found a study conducted by researchers at the Purdue University. During that time, videoconferencing or streaming is also used up as well as an area equivalent to the area of an iPad Mini. There can also be a decrease in carbon footprint by about 86 per cent if video streaming is done in standard definition instead of high definition, the study also claimed.
The first of its kind of study also investigated how water and land use is affected by internet infrastructure in addition to estimating the levels of carbon emissions. An estimation of the amount of usage  carbon, water, and land related to every gigabyte of data used in online platform such as YouTube, Zoom, Facebook, Twitter, online gaming, and surfing the web was also made as a conclusion of the study. The researchers concluded that more video means a bigger carbon footprint.  
"Banking systems tell you the positive environmental impact of going paperless, but no one tells you the benefit of turning off your camera or reducing your streaming quality," said Kaveh Madani, a researcher who led the study at Purdue University. There is an increase in an individual’s carbon footprint because of use of tech platforms without the consent of the users, Madani said.
A lot of electricity is used for in the processing and transmitting of data that shows an employee’s face in the living room device of the boss, the study says. Even though there is growing efficiency in energy usage in the data centres that are engaged in processing and storing the information, the processes will always have an impact on carbon, water, or land footprints because of the energy production process used in these data centres.
The impact on the carbon emissions, water consumption, and land usage is also dependent on the web platform that is used as well as the country that the users lives in, the researchers found in the study. For example, despite being a leader in renewable energy, there is relatively a larger water and land footprint for users in Germany.
According importance and focus on only one aspect of footprint could result in one missing out on considering the others which can be used together to generate a more holistic look of the environmental impact of such usage, the researchers at Purdue University also said.
The researchers also said that the environmental impact estimates made by them in the study are rough estimates and are dependent on the data obtained from the internet service providers and used to arrive at the estimates.