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Improve your streaming habits

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

One of the biggest causes of the internet's power consumption is music and video streaming.

80% of all data transferred online is video data, with nearly 60% of that being online video.

The average CO2 consumption of streamed online video is more than 300 million tons per year (2018), the same as Spain in a year. (The Shift Project)

What can you do?

Video streaming

(Netlix, Primevideo, YouTube, news website, social networks, etc.)

  • Turn off autoplay

  • Close the tabs that you are not using to prevent videos playing in the background.

  • Switch to lower quality video. Streaming content in standard definition instead of high definition can cut down carbon dioxide levels of that activity by more than 80%.

  • Stream using cable connection, or Wi-Fi as second choice and avoid mobile data – as the most efficient transmission technology in terms of energy consumption is fiber-optic cables; the worst is mobile data.

  • Watch on the smallest screen you can — high-definition video on a smartphone aren't really necessary in any case! Watching high-definition videos on a smartphone over a mobile network uses the most electricity, and consequently is the worst for the climate.

  • If you know you will watch the same video several times, download it, rather than stream it.

  • Switch back to standard TV broadcast? Analogue broadcasting also consumes electricity, but the data is only transmitted over a limited geographical area, rather than halfway around the world, as is the case with streaming video.

  • Oops, and turn off the videos and the devices when not watching! But that was obvious, wasn’t it?



  • Download titles that you often play

  • Do not use video streaming when you only want to listen to music - video streaming uses more energy than just music

  • Use the CDs you might still have!

And make your priorities heard! Let your streaming services that you care about the energy they use for their data center and networks, and about the proximity of the data centers. It might lead them to invest in renewable energy, improve the design of their data centers to reduce their energy consumption, and find systems to improve video compression. If you have the choice, go for those that commit and improve their carbon footprint.

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