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Delete your emails to save the planet

12th August 2022

How do emails work?

Emails, since they are transmitted over the internet are stored somewhere. Where are emails stored? They are stored in innumerable servers around the world. The servers are stored in big data centers that consume gargantuan amounts of electricity each day. In 2022, msot of our electricity still comes from fossil fuels, the consumption of which results in a continued contribution to climate change.

How do emails impact the planet?

According to Greenpace, the estimated worldwide energy consumption for data centers for 2012 was 382 billion kWh and 416 billion kWh in 2016. This significant jump alone cause the annual power consumption in 2016 to be 40% higher than the energy consumed by the entire United Kingdom.

A study conducted by McAfee found out that 62 trillion spam emails were sent back in 2008. If this is how many were sent in 2008, imagine the year 2022. The average spam emails causes emissions equivalent to 0.3g of carbon dioxide per message.

How much energy do spam emails use?

Globally, annual spam energy use totals 33 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). That’s equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes, with the same green house gas (GHG) emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars using 2 billion U.S gallons of gasoline.

Filtering spam emails can save 135TWh of electricity per year. This would be the equivalent of getting 13 million cars off the road.

How can you reduce greenhouse gases and emissions?

It’s very simple: delete your unwanted emails and spam. Try and periodically find to delete your emails and declutter your mailbox. It would be even more helpful if you were to empty your spam folder daily and unsubscribe to all notification emails from social media and other sites.

Lets take a look at the numbers as described by Parth Garg:

“There are about 2.3 billion email users in the world. The average email size is about 75 kb. So, imagine if everyone deletes around 10 unwanted emails (spam and non-spam), it could prevent 1,725,000 GB of data being stored in the servers around the world.

The energy used to store 1 GB of data is around 32 kWh. So calculating that it would mean generating 55.2 million kWh less electricity to power those servers.

And that’s cutting about 39,035 metric tonnes of CO2e which is equivalent to 19356 tonnes of coal burnt every day to generate that amount of electricity (assuming that fossil fuels are being used). That’s a crazy amount of C02e released in the atmosphere every day that could be saved.”


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