The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

By Jason Koebler If you still buy DVDs, you’re killing the environment. Maybe that’s a little extreme, but the environmental benefits of streaming a movie (or downloading it) rather than purchasing a DVD are staggering, according to a new US government study by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. If all DVDs purchased in 2011 were streamed instead, the energy savings would have been enough to meet the electricity demands of roughly 200,000 households. It would have cut roughly 2 billion kilograms of carbon emissions. If, like me, you’re thinking, “who buys DVDs anymore, anyways,” the answer is “a lot of people.” Despite the advent of hi-res streaming sites and hi-res digital downloads, Americans still spent $7.78 billion on physical DVDs and Blu-Ray discs last year; they only spent $4.35 billion on digital versions of movies and subscription streaming services such as Netflix. Of course, both are trending in the expected ways: Physical media sales dropped 8 percent in 2013, and digital movie sales were up roughly 47 percent. But people are still buying a lot of DVDs, roughly 1.2 billion last year. It’s admittedly nice to own physical media and place it in on a shelf in your living room, but streaming is better environmentally from almost every perspective. DVDs have to be manufactured (often overseas), shipped, held in a storefront (or an Amazon warehouse), picked up in a car, and then played, most commonly, on a DVD player or game console, which use more energy than a laptop or a Roku (or whatever your streaming appliance of choice is). DVDs stay in the home for roughly five years, according to the study, before they are thrown into a landfill somewhere. According to the study, published in Environmental Research Letters, even when you take into account cloud storage, data servers, the streaming device, streaming uses much less energy than purchasing a DVD. “Data center energy use—both operational and embodied within the IT equipment—account for less than 1 percent of the total video streaming energy use,” the study said. Read the full article here:

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