During the summer, I was musing on Vannevar Bush’s ideas presented in his paper As We May Think. Having the attention span of a… where was I? Oh, yes. So my mind wandered to thinking about by how much our carbon footprint could be reduced by switching to a paperless office. The answer surprised me and I mentioned it idly to my research supervisor, Steve Easterbrook. He suggested I publish it on a blog and we discussed the creation of a software tool to help present the argument more clearly. I’ve finally worked up the nerve to start up this blog to do the former and the latter is in the works. So here is my first post detailing how much carbon dioxide is emitted by reading a page of text on a computer instead of printing it out. Ladies and gentlemen, start your stopwatches!
Warning! This is a back-of-the-envelope calculation!
See a simplified version of this argument in graphical form.
- Consumer inkjet printing is more expensive, so those that require high volumes of printing are probably using laser printers. [↩]
- Standby for laser printers is quite high — in the 10-50W range. [↩]
- There are 500 17″x22″ sheets of uncut paper in a ream as used for measuring the basis weight of paper. This yields 2000 sheets when cut. [↩]