6. Networking

Reduce the amount of data and distance it must travel across the network

A network is a series of switches, routers, and servers. All the computers and network equipment in a network consume electricity and have embedded carbon. The internet is a global network of devices typically run off the standard local grid energy mix or powered by renewables.

When you send data across the internet, you are sending that data through many devices in the network, each one of those devices consuming electricity. As a result, any data you send or receive over the internet emits carbon.

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Nodes in a network run on different energy mixes

The amount of carbon emitted to send data depends on many factors including:

  • Distance the data travels
  • The number of hops between network devices
  • The energy efficiency of the network devices
  • The carbon intensity of energy in the region of each device at the time the data is transmitted.
  • The network protocol used to coordinate data transmission - e.g. multiplex, header compression, TLS/Quic

All Principles permalink

  1. Carbon   Build applications that are carbon efficient
  2. Electricity   Build applications that are energy efficient
  3. Carbon Intensity   Consume electricity with the lowest carbon intensity
  4. Embodied Carbon   Build applications that run on older hardware
  5. Energy Proportionality   Run servers at a high rate of utilization
  6. Networking   ▶ Reduce the amount of data and distance it must travel across the network ◀
  7. Demand Shaping   Instead of shaping supply to match demand, try shaping demand to match supply.
  8. Measurement & Optimization   Focus on end-to-end optimizations that increase the overall carbon efficiency