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RE: Paperless hospital?--IT energy use



Actually....

Mills has also testified before congress, where I first saw this issue
brought up.  There is a raging debate about this issue (and it does seem
like Mills versus a lot of other interests) and even the journal publication
says it is difficult to tell.  Just like Global Warming or anything else
where LCA is included.  Maybe everything we do is eventually a zero sum
game?



-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Cantin [mailto:Jeff.Cantin@erg.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 2:19 PM
To: rsobin@deq.state.va.us; p2tech@great-lakes.net
Subject: Re: Paperless hospital?--IT energy use


Joe Romm, former DOE/EERE, has also taken on many of these myths and
testified to Congress on the matter.  See
http://www.cool-companies.com/energy

-Jeff




+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
Jeff Cantin
ERG, Inc.
110 Hartwell Ave.
Lexington, MA 02421-3136
781-674-7315    781-674-2851 fax
jeff.cantin@erg.com    www.erg.com

>>> "Sobin,Rodney" <rsobin@deq.state.va.us> 07/10/03 01:56PM >>>
Dear colleagues--

A previous posting asks some good questions about the reality and
environmental friendliness of "paperless" operations.   However
regarding "It has been argued that downloading a book or sending a 1 mb
file around the world requires a  'lump of coal,'" there are now some
good analyses refuting this claim.

For those interested see Jonathan Koomey, et al., "Sorry, Wrong Number:
The Use and Misuse of Numerical Facts in Analysis and Media Reporting of
Energy Issues," in Annual Review of Energy and Environment,  2002.
27:119-58.

An excerpt follows:

"How Much Electricity is Used by Office Equipment?

"THE ISSUE Some of the most widely cited statistics during California's
energy crisis in 2000 and 2001 ostensibly indicated that the Internet
used 8% of all U.S.
electricity, that all office equipment used 13%, and that total office
equipment electricity use would grow to half of all power use over the
next 10 to 20 years.
These numbers all originated in an article for Forbes by Peter Huber
and Mark Mills in May 1999 (23), based on a report written by Mills
(24). The Mills report
estimated the electricity used by eight categories of energy-using
equipment or processes associated with the Internet:
	1. Major dot-com companies
2. Web sites
3. Telephone central offices
4. Personal computers (PCs) in offices
5. PCs at home
6. Routers on the Internet
7. Routers in local area networks and wide area networks
8. Energy to manufacture equipment

"Mills calculated energy use for equipment in each category by
multiplying estimates of the power used by the population and operating
hours for each device.
The Forbes estimates appeared when the Internet boom was at its peak.
At that time, the information technology industry had captured the
imagination of U.S.
society as a force that would revolutionize both consumer lifestyles
and business practice. Many people therefore found it plausible that
such an important part of
the U.S. economy should also use significant amounts of electric power,
which was one reason for the rapid proliferation of these statistics.

"In subsequent research, Koomey et al. (25) demonstrated that the Huber
and Mills estimate of Internet power use was at least a factor of eight
too high, and
Kawamoto et al. (26, 27) and Koomey (28) showed that the Forbes
estimate of total office equipment electricity use was a factor of four
too high. Recent analysis
by Roth et al. (29) at Arthur D. Little (now Tiax) also corroborated
these findings. Creating credible estimates of electricity requirements
for information technology
is fraught with difficulty. The underlying data are not known with
precision, the empirical data are limited, the most useful data are
often proprietary, and the
technology is changing so rapidly that even accurate data are quickly
obsolete. Forecasts of future growth in power use are even less
reliable. Nevertheless, much is already known about information
technology electricity use, and we bring that information to bear in the
sections below."

(. . . )   The paper analyzes this case extensively and then concludes
the section with:

"SUMMARY The claim that information technology uses large amounts of
electric power proliferated quickly, driven by a superficially plausible
story line and a
high-profile crisis in the California electricity sector. Forbes itself
lent credibility to the argument simply by publishing it. The trade
press and the popular media
repeated the key claims in the Forbes article, often without citing a
source, thus enshrining the erroneous statistics as common knowledge.
Leaders in business,
government, and academia were misled by this barrage of media attention
and cited the statistics widely, thus ensuring their proliferation."

Cheers,
Rod

Rodney Sobin
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Postal: P.O. Box 10009, Richmond, VA 23240-0009
Street:  629 E. Main St., Richmond, VA 23233-2429
Tel. 804-698-4382	fax 804-698-4264  Rsobin@deq.state.va.us 
DEQ Innovative Technology http://www.deq.state.va.us/innovtech 
Chesapeake Bay Program Innovative Technology
http://www.chesapeakebay.net/innovative.htm
<http://www.chesapeakebay.net/innovative.html> 
Virginia Environmental Services Network http://www.vesn.org 




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