Every one of us, or most of us anyway, has a cell phone. Regardless of whether we recycle regularly, grow our own food or have a bio-composter in our back garden, we always fall back to that little gadget of ours, which keeps us connected to the world.
A recent study, however, established something that most people fail to acknowledge. This is the fact that an average iPhone takes up more energy than a single appliance in our kitchen, such as the fridge.
As striking as this news might sound, when we consider the power that keeps the phone running and all the energy that is used in order to maintain the telecommunication system, including the cell towers, data centers, telecommunication networks, it all adds up to quite a substantial amount of electricity usage.
And it gets worse. Most of the power that we use on daily basis comes from fossil fuels. It is true that some countries, like Australia for example, are now investing only in renewable energy power plants, but the sad reality is that in most cases coal burning plants steal the show. In China, for example, every week there is at least one new coal-fired plant that goes online.
According to the report by the Digital Power Group, around 10% of all energy is consumed by the information technology sector. This number is not very likely to remain that low, although “low” is quite subjective considering that 30 years ago, this same amount of energy used to provide light to the whole planet.
The report refers to a few other interesting figures. For example, did you know that if you watch an hour of streaming video a week, the system consumes as much power as it is needed for two regular sized refrigerators to function? A simple refrigerator uses around 322 kilowatt-hours of energy per year. Now the surprise- an iPhone needs 361 kilowatt-hours to keep us connected for the same length of time.
Of course, the report has quite a number of opponents, who accused the authors of making unjustified assumptions and providing a biased opinion. We just stated the figures, you should make the conclusions.