Energy Intensity of the Internet: State of the Art and Influencing Factors

Decanato - Facoltà di scienze informatiche

Data d'inizio: 9 Maggio 2014

Data di fine: 10 Maggio 2014

The Faculty of Informatics is pleased to announce a seminar given by Vlad Coroama


DATE: Friday, May 09th, 2014

PLACE: USI Lugano campus, room SI-015, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)

TIME: 10:30



There is a growing consensus that ICT can contribute to increased societal energy efficiency, by substituting Internet-based services (such as online shopping, music download, or videoconferencing) for traditional, more energy-demanding processes. There are, however, important controversies regarding the energy consumption of the ICT sector, making such claims uncertain. The energy intensity of the Internet, expressed as energy consumed per data transmitted, is one of these controversial issues.

Estimates of the energy intensity of the Internet put forward over the last decade diverge by several orders of magnitude — from 136 kilowatt-hours per gigabyte (kWh/GB) down to 0.006 kWh/GB. The talk will present some of the existing assessments along with their methodological approaches, and identify the main reasons for this very large spread. I will further argue that the intensities of the metro and core network are best modeled as energy per data, while the intensity of customer premises equipment (CPE) and access networks are best modeled as energy per time (i.e., power), making overall assessments challenging. The talk will conclude with a first attempt of such a hybrid analysis for the energy intensity of the Internet.



Vlad Coroama holds a computer science MSc degree from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, and a PhD from the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. For more than a decade, his research revolved around the relation between ICT and sustainability. Vlad is the author of numerous studies and articles on the environmental impact assessment of ICT in general and the Internet in particular.

HOST: Prof. Marc Langheinrich