Should We Be Worrying About How Much Energy Zoom Calls Use?

by WarriorForum.com Administrator
17 replies
A new article on Forbes asks if we should worry about all the energy Zoom calls use.



Even though life is starting to get back to normal after the pandemic, there are still fears that we could see a fourth wave. That would see returned demand for platforms like Zoom, but should we be concerned about the amount of energy that those video calls are using?

A report conducted by Utility Bidder says we should. In fact, the company has even released a new calculator that can estimate how much energy those calls are using in terms of bandwidth, electricity used, CO2 emissions, and even in the equivalent to miles driven in a gasoline-powered car. James Longley is the company's MD:

"We've all been spending significantly more time on video calls since the start of the pandemic last year when working from home became the norm for the large majority of office workers. Our research reveals that a weekly one-hour team meeting on Zoom with 6 participants releases 0.05kg of CO2 - over the year; this is the equivalent to the emissions that would occur if driving 9.36 miles in a petrol car. These emissions might seem small, however when you combine each of your worker's time - and consequent emissions - spent on Zoom calls, the environmental impact of these calls is significant, and definitely something to keep in mind as an employee or manager."
"Not all communications require face-to-face communication, and crafting a succinct email to send to colleagues may save a lot of time and emissions - as well as increasing your productivity. As lockdown restrictions ease and some workers return to an office environment, consider scheduling all meetings or discussions that need to be face to face on a day that team members are in the office. This leaves time working at home to get into deep work and saves the emissions caused by long video calls."
There's a lot more opinion and information in the original article. What do people think? Do we need to be worrying about this (a) during the worst health crisis in living memory? And, (b) when if we weren't using Zoom, we'd likely be using public transport and cars to get to meetings a lot of the time anyway?

The internet and the cloud produce zillions of tons of carbon emissions anyway, right? What are your thoughts?
#calls #energy #worrying #zoom
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  • Profile picture of the author Albertina Geller
    I think zoom call is better than driving and going for a meeting as the emission will be more in driving as compared to the zoom call and it will also save our time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Serene Carmen
    This is a bit ridiculous if you consider Zoom replaced the need for people to fly to other countries and cities for meetings.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    The equivalent of driving 9.36 miles PER YEAR per employee? Lets see, divide that by 52 two weeks and that works out to almost 2 tenths of a mile for every meeting!

    HORRORS!

    Sounds like a much better plan to have people flying or driving to those meetings! [insert eye roll here]

    Wow, just wow. I bet the author thinks he is SOOOOOO smart!
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      The equivalent of driving 9.36 miles PER YEAR per employee? Lets see, divide that by 52 two weeks and that works out to almost 2 tenths of a mile for every meeting!

      HORRORS!

      Sounds like a much better plan to have people flying or driving to those meetings! [insert eye roll here]

      Wow, just wow. I bet the author thinks he is SOOOOOO smart!
      i didn't even relieze the miles of driving a car was for the entire years energy use..

      this is why it is hard to take the Co2 is bad people seriously ..people cut the emissions to a tiny fraction of what they where producing. And because it isn't zero it is still not good enough ..

      maybe the author will do a speaking tour after covid disipates ..so he or she can fly around the world to give discussions on the terrible co2 effect of people using zoom
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    "should we worry about" - followed by a list of inconsequential theories, subjects....seems to be what these 'journalists' do. Forbes seems to be focusing on this sort of article recently.

    Fourth wave....where? As long as there are any cases of covid there will be predictions of new 'waves' by those who jobs disappear when the pandemic is over.

    How does this have ANYTHING to do with internet marketing? Is this wordy 'journal' suggesting we don't meet online but instead get in our cars and all drive to one location to meet? Or should we spend billions building 'low impact rail systems' so we can avoid using Zoom?

    Sometimes you have to look at a story and realize 'this is nuts'.


    Edit: I'm sure somewhere people are lining up to start a protest about the energy used by ZOOM....people with no income and no jobs most likely.
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post


      Sometimes you have to look at a story and realize 'this is nuts'.


      Edit: I'm sure somewhere people are lining up to start a protest about the energy used by ZOOM....people with no income and no jobs most likely.
      and the people who own office building are paying them to protest ..

      forbes and other financial magazines have little chance but to go tabloid .like cnn and broadcast news agencies .as the people running the main investment fund and finical firms .. who in the past had to get their message out through those magazine .. now just get on podcast and YouTube interviews ..or publicly talk to each other on twitter ..

      There are many business and industry taking a hit because so many people are staying home to work..so you will see more public anti zoom sentiment..
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  • Profile picture of the author Diego Aguirre
    a weekly one-hour team meeting on Zoom with 6 participants releases 0.05kg of CO2 - over the year
    Having a background in the oil industry and knowing how they drill for oil in the middle of rainforests I am having a hard time putting this in perspective...
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Stanley
    Wow, just wow. I bet the author thinks he is SOOOOOO smart!
    No doubt about it. It's this kind of empty outrage that makes it hard to have actual conversations about solutions here.

    I thought this overall "XYZ is sucking up all the energy" take by Crypto researcher Nic Carter was pretty good. We need to accept the world we live in and create policy/find innovations that allow for more computation.

    "Computation will be the largest single global consumer of energy within a decade or two, and rightfully so ... In hindsight, deeming large-scale computation wasteful will seen as completely absurd.

    This is simply a reality we're transitioning towards, the challenge lies exclusively with policymakers to equip the grid for more computation. Selectively banning certain types of compute is an unworkable pipe dream."
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    ok kids lets REALLY throw this into perspective.. the oh wow, really? number of 0.05kg of CO2 - over the year; this is the equivalent to the emissions that would occur if driving 9.36 miles in a petrol car, REALLY equates to 9.36 / 6 =1.56 per person per year. Lets really break that down and we get 1.56 miles per person per year divided by 52 weeks and we get .03 miles PER HOUR.

    Do you think that the cost of a Zoom call can be directly correlated to an hour on the internet usage in general? if the "Average" person spends 145 minutes PER DAY or roughly 2.5 hours of the day on the "Internet" that translates to .075 miles ( Per Day ). from there we can then figure the yearly amount ( x 365 ) and that becomes 27.375 miles per year per person on the internet.

    And even at that we can say oh 27.375 miles per year... whatever?!?! BUT and a BIG but... 4.32 billion people the world over use the internet on a daily basis. NOW all of the sudden you are not using the poultry 9.36 miles per year for a weekly zoom call the world is using the equivalent of 118,260,000,000 miles per year.

    PROBABLY one of the least green industries in the world actually.
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    • Profile picture of the author Diego Aguirre
      This looks like the math problems I used to hate in school...
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      And even at that we can say oh 27.375 miles per year... whatever?!?! BUT and a BIG but... 4.32 billion people the world over use the internet on a daily basis. NOW all of the sudden you are not using the poultry 9.36 miles per year for a weekly zoom call the world is using the equivalent of 118,260,000,000 miles per year.

      PROBABLY one of the least green industries in the world actually.
      most of that dayly internet use ..is currently on cellphones that use cellular data ..but those celular net works ..where far better than building land line or cable internet systems..

      once star link gets worldwide coverage in the next year or two and the cost of the terminal and dish go down a few solar panels on someone's roof .. that provide enough current to run a tv and laptops and the terminal while the terminal also doubles as a battery system .. so the co2 output can drop to zero after installation .. and id the solar panel can run a few led lights and an induction plate ..the need to cook with would will decline which is the number one cause of early death in most of the world ..

      in the next few years 3d printed housing ,incinerator toilets and technologies like star link/solar will converge outside the mature economies ..the US will watch things just get more expensive. While the rest of the world catches up ..
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Always lots of things left out of these equations. How about the heat or air conditioning that is usually shut off or way down at these times. How about the lights on in the house that are usually off. How about the lack of productivity during the day because in between zoom meetings there is home schooling going on. Then there is the night time work that you could not get done during the day because of home schooling. that means more lights, heat or ac in parts of the home that would normally be turned down.

    So add all that and you will progbably see the co2 output is much higher.

    Just a thought

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  • Profile picture of the author JamminJars
    This sounds like complete nonsense for the sake of being outrageous. It is said to see giants like Forbes even publishing something like this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    you are not using the poultry 9.36 miles per year for a weekly zoom call the world is using the equivalent of

    Admire the detailed computation but I do believe you mean 'paltry' - no chickens were involved that I'm aware of.


    sorry, couldn't resist....
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Admire the detailed computation but I do believe you mean 'paltry' - no chickens were involved that I'm aware of.


      sorry, couldn't resist....
      Maybe a "typo", but the whole thing is a bunch of chicken sh-t anyways so maybe a Freudian slip? LOL

      Its pretty common place to see articles on the power consumption of say a bitcoin miner... think about the building that "Serves" websites... like bluehost as an example... what their energy consumption per year?

      The buildings these things are in would have to be on acres and acres of land to have a small server building then acres and acres of solar panels.

      I find it amusing how articles like this, pinpoint a very micro example of an issue.. and make a big deal out of it, when they could just expand the example out into macro and really make a case. "Zoom" usage vs internet usage as a whole.

      Its almost like they are trying to imply "ZOOM BAD" or something.
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      • Profile picture of the author Odahh
        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

        M

        I find it amusing how articles like this, pinpoint a very micro example of an issue.. and make a big deal out of it, when they could just expand the example out into macro and really make a case. "Zoom" usage vs internet usage as a whole.

        Its almost like they are trying to imply "ZOOM BAD" or something.
        many people invesed in the old system who are now losing a lot of revenue because people are working from home .. will pitch the zoom bad argument ..

        now i am going to inject humor .. but i bet the enrgy savings from people not having to wash and dry as many pairs of pants .. probably beat the energy used by zoom ..

        a gallon of gas should get 20-30 miles per gallon in an average car ..and today the average cost of a gallon in the US is 2.80 .. and like 4 dollars in California ..
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