Energy-efficient ICT use

The energy consumption of computer activity is mainly determined by the brightness of the screen and the amount of data processing (energy consumption in data centres). With the suggestions on this page, you yourself can contribute to a more sustainable use of ICT and reduce your energy consumption.

Energy-efficient settings

Set your devices' energy settings to an energy-efficient mode. This can be done, for example, by dimming the screen faster or automatically putting the computer to sleep after a short period of inactivity.

Turn off devices completely when not in use. This applies to computers, monitors, printers and other peripherals. Some devices still consume electricity even when they are switched off. If these will not be used for an extended period (during holiday periods, for example), it helps to physically disconnect them. Do not leave chargers of laptops and other devices unused in the socket.

Setting a screensaver used to be important to prevent burn-in when a picture tube was on black for too long. With today's screens, burn-in is no longer an issue and a screensaver unnecessarily consumes energy.

Dark mode

A dark screen uses two to four times less energy than other colours. Nowadays, you can activate a dark mode ("dark mode") for the whole device or only for a specific app or website. Only for pixel screens (OLED/AMOLED, mostly smartphones and tablets) does this also effectively save energy, not for LCD or TFT screens (laptops and monitors) where the backlight is always on. Screens with such a backlight are currently the most common.

Choosing energy-efficient and efficient hardware

Choose appliances with an Energy Star label or similar certifications that show they are energy efficient.

Maintain your equipment properly and avoid unnecessary upgrades. This way, you extend the life of your devices. This reduces the demand for new devices and the energy needed for production and transport.

Laptops and tablets are generally more energy-efficient than desktops. Consider using them for tasks that do not require much computing power.

Mindful use of internet and cloud services

Limit the use of cloud storage and streaming services, as they consume a lot of energy in data centres. Download content locally if possible and use offline modes.

The demand for energy for cloud computing is increasing rapidly and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is contributing to this trend. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the energy consumption of data centres worldwide is expected to increase by more than 50% by 2030. AI models require a lot of computing power, leading to concerns about their energy consumption. According to US AI company Hugging Face, training its generative AI model consumed about 433 megawatt hours (MWh), enough to power 40 average US homes for a year.

Avoid websites and apps that load a lot of ads and unnecessary scripts, as they consume more energy. Also limit the number of tabs opened. Viewing a simple web page consumes about 0.02 grams of CO2 per second. A heavy website with lots of graphics and animations consumes ten times as much CO2. Advertisements can also significantly affect energy consumption.

Streaming videos uses a lot of data and thus a lot of energy. Also, don't leave pages with videos open in the background on other tabs. Turn off automatic video playback.

Sending an e-mail with large attachments can cost up to 50 grams of CO2 per mail. A normal e-mail costs about 4 grams. So limit attaching attachments and reduce the size of large photos and files (zip) before sending.

If you invariably use VPN or Citrix (Athena) while teleworking, this consumes extra data (and thus energy) because all data traffic has to pass through the work location. So establish this connection only when really necessary, for example to retrieve files, and then continue working on the home network. Use the apps installed on your own device as much as possible.

Recycling and reuse

Recycle old appliances responsibly and consider buying refurbished equipment. After all, many electronics contain harmful materials that should not end up in the environment.

Reduce printer usage

Reduce printing by managing documents digitally and printing only what is really needed. Opt for double-sided printing to save paper.