This is what happens when the contents of my address book converge: articulate pedants clash horns with highly-numerate engineers, with the philosophical questions answered by a classic Aussie.


From: Mairead Doyle
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:27 PM
Subject: The Eco-Friendly Google

For those worried with energy consumption and all its downsides:

When your screen is white, be it an empty word page, or the Google page, your computer consumes 74 watts, and when it’s black it consumes only 59 watts. Mark Ontkush wrote an article about the energy saving that would be achieved if Google had a black screen, taking into account the huge number of page views. According to his calculations, 750 mega watts/hour per year would be saved.

In a response to this article Heap Media in Sydney created a black version of the Google search engine, called Blackle, with the exact same functions as the white version, but with lower energy consumption. Regardless of whether the above is true, I think it looks good. Check it out.


From: Manu Pillai
Sent: 19 July 2007 23:55
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google

Use laptops; half the power.



From: Nick Lawrance
Sent: 20 July 2007 09:29
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google

Oooh I like that. It’s as if Michael Mann has created his own search engine.

And once I’d turned on all the lights in the office I found it wasn’t that spooky to use at all!

Anyway, for those of us who “studied” in arts faculties: what does 750 mega watts/hours per year actually mean?

(In layman’s terms please, either

1.       relating it to the number of cups of tea/rounds of toast I could make with a “750 mega watts/hours per year” sized bucket of, er, magic silent power juice, or

2.       something relating to an area the size of Wales.



From: Joe Dalton
Sent: 20 July 2007 12:31
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google

As one in the business, I guess I’d better answer this one… 

750,000,000Watts/Hour = 2,700,000,000,000,000 Joules of electricity. 

One cup (assume 200ml of “liquid”)  takes 68,650.4 Joules of electricity…. (heating water from an assumed 18C (room temperature) to 100C and then immediately switching off….). 

This corresponds to 39,329,705 cups of tea (approximately)….

Naturally, this f*****g number would go down in Ireland at the moment (as it’s bleeding freezing here right now). And anyway, why not use the water to make Guinness? That would be way more eco friendly!

(Please note that the amount of energy consumed to produce the electricity to heat the water is 2.6 times (approx) 750MWhr’s, at an assumed conversion rate of 38%)

From: Nick Lawrance
Sent: 20 July 2007 12:42
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google

Thanks for the science Joe. Much appreciated.

But 40 million cups is too massive a figure for my brain to really comprehend. (If I’d known it was so vast a number I would have chosen a more useful unit of measurement.)


Does anyone know how many Olympic-sized swimming pools this equates to?



From: Brian Costello
Sent: 20 July 2007 13:52
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google

12,356.82 approximately.



From: Beal Richard
Sent: 20 July 2007 14:35
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google

How much energy has been used up answering Nick’s questions?

(just joshin’!)



From: Joe Dalton
Sent: 20 July 2007 15:02
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google

Don’t know…. But if the pool was filled with Tea at boiling point it might make setting any long distance world record a bit difficult… but you would start off at a scalding rate…. 



From: Nick Lawrance
Sent: Saturday, 21 July 2007 12:06 AM
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google

Would the winner be presented with a trophy?

Or an urn?



From: Evans, Sam
Subject: RE: The Eco-Friendly Google
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 10:03:47 +1000

Forget about tea. That’s for poms in cold climates. Here in Oz we’d rather equate it to more appealing currency such as crates of Foster’s Lager. It converts to 6,350 crates of cold fresh beer. That’s a mighty strong case for change.


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