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Server farms - those huge collections of computers that run the networks of Google, Yahoo, and other companies - are enormous users of energy. We look at efforts to make the information superhighway more efficient.
Aired twice locally during Morning Edition B segment, 5/16/08
One of the biggest users of electricity in the United States ?and Jonathan Koomey hates to tell you this ? but it?s you. Every time you log onto the Web.
AMBI 1 room tone Koomey
ACT 1 When people are thinking about the Internet, they normally think about the computer on the desk, but behind that computer is a whole bunch of computers, running the network. Those computers use electricity.
They use a LOT of electricity, says Koomey, a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab scientist. The U-S Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in 2007, data centers used 61 billion kilowatt hours of electricity ? enough to run the entire state of Massachusetts for the year. And generating all that power, Koomey says, has big implications for our planet.
ACT 2 More than half of the electricity used in the United States is from coal. And coal?s one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissio...
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When you fire up your computer in the morning and go online ? chances are you?re not thinking of the environmental impact of the Internet. You might be surprised. The server facilities that keep us all connected gobble up nearly 2 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. Generating all that power carries a big price tag - in the form of greenhouse gas emissions. From California's Silicon Valley, KQED's David Gorn reports.