The Carbon Footprint of Email

At first glance, emails appear to save resources when compared to traditional letters - no paper or stamps are required and nothing needs to be packaged or transported.

It's easy to overlook the energy usage involved in maintaining running the network. But think gigantic centers with millions of computers that store and transmit information. Crazy right?

Every old email stored in your inbox is using up energy stored on a server.

These servers consume massive amounts of energy and require massive amounts of water for air conditioning systems for cooling.

The more messages we send and receive, the more servers are needed, and more energy is consumed, resulting in more carbon emissions.

Carbon footprint specialist Mike Berners-Lee states that every spam email (even the unopened ones) release an estimated 0.3 grams of CO2 into the atmosphere.

According to recent calcualtions from Ovo Energy, if every email user sent one less unnecessary email each day, it would reduce CO2 by 16,433 tonnes each year!


Here are some ways to keep your inbox clean:

  • Delete old emails (and texts or any digital messages)
  • Empty spam email folder
  • Manage email subscriptions (unsubscribe if necessary!)


Although this is a small part of our carbon footprint, it is still a meaningful solution towards reducing unnecessary carbon emissions!

As our use of the internet increases, it's important for us to be aware of the amount of energy we're using (even if we can't see it).




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