AV3 News

What is the environmental cost of software? Posted over 9 years ago by Graham Sharp - Posted in General

For as long as I can remember I have always been very careful over how much paper I use, usually avoiding printing if at all possible and printing 2 pages per sheet or double side printing when I absolutely need to. I also hate the way simple objects get packaged for sale, you know, the layers of plastic and cardboard that you can't get into; and I meticulously recycle everything I can.

Apart from this, I have never seen myself as particularly green; but it amazes me how environmentally aware kids are - my kids are careful about recycling and are already planning buying hybrid cars, even though they are several years away from being able to drive!

This makes you think about what state we are leaving the planet in for the next generation, which is why when we came up with the idea for AV3, we were adamant it was downloads only – no shipping physical goods!

So now we are up and running, I figured I would try to find out how much greener it is to download software, rather than ship boxes and I think it is quite staggering.

Microsoft did a lot of work using an environmental research consultancy. They used MS Office 2007 as an example and basically downloading creates 88% less emissions than physical distribution. In simple terms, even taking into account the power the download servers, the receiving PC and the internet uses, the saving in emissions is the equivalent of burning 1 gallon of petrol per copy!

And yet in light of this, less than 10% of software is downloaded – the bulk being physically distributed on CD’s in plastic and cardboard boxes!

We have to start thinking more outside of the box and convince all software vendors to do the same!

Take a look – the full report is here:

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