Spam. We all hate it for obvious reasons, but here’s a new one that really draws an eco-geek’s ire.
According to research conducted by McAfee and ICF, every year 33 terawatt hours (TWh) are wasted transmitting, smiting and otherwise dealing with the estimated 62 trillion spam e-mails sent during that time frame. That’s enough to power 2.4 million homes, folks!
Combating spam was actually found to lessen the environmental impact of all that spam. According to the study, “spam filtering saves 135 TWh of electricity per year.” However, if McColo’s take down last year is any indication, taking spam out at the source — or close to it — may be the best way to stop spam’s polluting ways. During that time last year when the infamous web host went dark, spam volume dropped 70 percent, the equivalent of taking taking 2.2 million cars off the road, to use a popular enviro-metric.
Here are some other interesting findings:
Much of the energy consumption associated with spam (nearly 80 percent) comes from end-users deleting spam and searching for legitimate e-mail (false positives). Spam filtering accounts for just 16 percent of spam-related energy use.
The average GHG emission associated with a single spam message is 0.3 grams of CO2. That’s like driving three feet (one meter); but when multiplied by the yearly volume of spam, it is equivalent to driving around the earth 1.6 million times.
If every inbox were protected by a state-of-the-art spam filter, organizations and individuals could reduce today’s spam energy by 75 percent or 25 TWh per year, the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road.
You can grab a copy of the full report here (registration required).
Source: Press Release