MAR 10, 2017 8:22 AM PST

How much energy do your YouTube binge sessions use?


Go ahead and watch the video. By the end of watching the merely two and a half minute YouTube video, you will have used the equivalent of energy for two Double AA batteries. How does watching something so short use up so much energy? Find out here.

Some of the energy required to watch the video comes from your device itself - whatever screen you're using to view this post - to get physical about it, the actual photons being emitted from the machine in front of you. Laptops consume the equivalent energy of about one Double AA every five minutes. Mobile phones and tablets are a bit more efficient, using one Double AA every half hour. But that energy is only a part of what's required behind your video viewing. The rest is the energy that is used to actually deliver the video to your screen from where the code is stored somewhere on a distant server.

When you click that play button, the zeros and ones that make up the code to process the video must pass through long haul and local networks to reach your router. It is difficult to measure how much energy this delivery process requires, but IT experts estimate that one Double AA battery's worth of energy gives you about 10 MB of data. For a (almost) three minute video like this one, you need about 30 MB of data - or three Double AA batteries of energy.

And that's PER VIEW. Tallying up the 500,000 plus YouTube views that this particular video has, the video has consumed 105.9 household-days of electricity!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
Researchers have identified an exoplanet that appears to have an atmosphere composed of vaporized rock and oceans runnin ...
NOV 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
NOV 19, 2020
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
Sour beer isn't for everyone: its unique taste of acidity and tartness could excite some but turn off others.  ...
MAR 18, 2021
Space & Astronomy
There May Be More Water-Rich Planets than Previously Thought
MAR 18, 2021
There May Be More Water-Rich Planets than Previously Thought
Researchers have hypothesized that a certain mechanism may mean there are many more water-rich planets with atmospheres ...
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Speedbumps Reduce Endangered Red Colobus Deaths
APR 09, 2021
Speedbumps Reduce Endangered Red Colobus Deaths
The endangered Zanzibar red colobus is a rare primate that lives only in the Zanzibar archipelago. New research from Ban ...
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Celebrating National Pet Day
APR 09, 2021
Celebrating National Pet Day
Sunday, April 11, is National Pet Day! From pandemic companions to viral videos, pets are a huge part of our lives. Even ...
JUL 15, 2021
Neuroscience
Like Humans, Rats Help Friends Before Strangers
JUL 15, 2021
Like Humans, Rats Help Friends Before Strangers
Just like humans, rats tend to help members of their own social group before strangers. The findings may help researcher ...
Loading Comments...