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Did you know emails have a carbon footprint?

Did you know emails have a carbon footprint? Neither did we until recently.

According to a study by Prof Mike Berners-Lee the average carbon footprint of an email is between 0.03g and 26g of CO2e.

Email Type Emissions (CO2e)

-Spam email picked up by your filters 0.03 g

-Short email sent and received on a phone 0.2 g

-Short email sent and received on a laptop 0.3 g

-Long email that takes 10 minutes to write and

3 minutes to read sent and received on a laptop 17 g

-Email blast that takes 10 minutes to write and sent to

100 people, of whom 1 reads it and the other 99 glance

at it for 3 seconds to decide that they should ignore it 26 g

Here are some top tips to start reducing the carbon footprint of your emails:

Unsubscribe The first step is to de-clutter your inbox. You can use an app to help you unsubscribe from any newsletters you don’t want.

Say goodbye to your childhood email address Reducing the number of email addresses you use is an instant way to cut down your digital footprint. Do you have any 90s cringeworthy email addresses still in existence?

To CC or not CC Each time you copy in a colleague, you’re adding to their to-do list of unread emails. As well as starting a new energy trail. If you streamline the number of people copied in your emails, you’re saving colleagues from another lump of inbox dread and its carbon footprint.

Shrink those attachments What you send in your emails affects the email’s carbon footprint. If you compress email attachments, adopt lighter file formats or replace the attachments with a hyperlink it uses less energy.

iCloud is for essentials Try to back up only what’s essential. One stored email is equivalent to 10g of CO2 per year. That’s the same CO2 emission as a plastic bag. So, with your spring clean, why not delete all those emails that are uselessly taking up space?

Home energy At the root of all this, is the energy that powers your inbox screen. The biggest step you can take to reduce your digital footprint is to choose a renewable home energy supplier and ask if your office can do this too.

But do not get too bogged down! These amounts are a drop in the bucket compared to other contributors, and as an alternative to letter mail (which creates 20 times as much CO2e), email is generally an efficient means of sending written communications.

But like any new technology, increased efficiency runs the risk of creating more carbon through excessive, careless use.

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