Introduction: Save Internet Energy (mini Instructable)

Picture of Save Internet Energy (mini Instructable)

"In terms of greenhouse gases, one Google search is equivalent to about 0.2 grams of CO2"
One of many sources
This is in the hardware that drives the internet, the servers, storage units routers etc.

Here's an easy way to save a bit of energy:

Use a (paper) Dictionary, or Encyclopedia

There are plenty of them about, as we've become accustomed to using online references they've fallen out of use somewhat. You may have one at home, or be able to pick one up second-hand,
If it's already been printed and bound, there's no environmental impact.
A hard-copy dictionary or encyclopedia will not let you down if you have a problem with your power, computer, internet connection. (Nuclear-armageddon / zombie attack)
I use mine because they're often quicker and I have the certainty of who published them.

Many people have become accustomed to using the mouse to retrieve information, without moving away from where they are (I don't move much, but I do take my hand off the mouse)

Step 1: Using the Dictionary / Encyclopedia

Picture of Using the Dictionary / Encyclopedia

They are organised alphabetically. Look up the word/name you're after and if it's in there you'll find the definition / information. This involves moving the paper pages with your hands / fingers, a task I'm sure you can manage (but it's an Instructable, so this is instruction)
Look to the top of the pages, the left-hand page will display the first word on the page, e.g. manageable, the right-hand page displays the last, e.g. Manilla

When you find a word / entry, it's formatted to a standard, but to leave the academic formatting aside (as this is a substitute for Google / Wikipedia / - if it's on paper it's as good as online, unless you've got a really old book.

Simple Instructable: the instruction is "use the books not the internet"

Unless the topic is long-dead, your version may be a bit out of date: "United States Of America: HEAD OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT - Ronald Regan..." Still, some of the information lasts, e.g. the inside covers of my Hutchinson Encyclopedia (1988) give weights and measures conversions info, with no internet energy cost.

(Thanks to my Mum for giving me these books)

Step 2: Final

Picture of Final

It's so simple that it may not really qualify as an Instructable:
If you think so let me know and I'll consider removing it



ilpug (author)2012-03-22

I really appreciate this. The only thing that keeps me googling is that I have limited space for books and limited credit at the local used book shop. I think this could be somewhat "modernized" by putting all the info you need specifically onto a flash drive, sort of like your own personal Hitchiker's Guide. That way, you only need get the info once.

lemonie (author)ilpug2012-03-22

I use the dictionary most.


siafulinux (author)2011-06-14

I have a belief that there are plenty of tasks we use a computer for where we could probably do without it. Well of course that's true, we've survived without them for centuries.

I tend to think of things like CAD (Computer Aided Design) applications which are great, but I remember a time when I was taught in school on a technical drawing board. Another example is the old style manual type writer.

When you have to really think about your next move before committing to paper, it probably trains your brain to focus more and may help a person to make better decisions overall. Kind of how playing chess may have benefits to mental capabilities, such as with stratergy.

With a computer you can simply erase the mistake and try again, but you don't get that opportunity on paper. Sure computers make for easier projects, but I think we're losing something by using them for everything.

But this is all just a theory. :D Thanks for the great instructable!

lemonie (author)siafulinux2011-06-14

Wise words, thank you.


brian3140 (author)2010-03-19

The concept is right on.
     As an electrician I did alot of work in data centers.  First time I walked into one I was blown away at the power consumption, I've installed hundreds of 30 Amp, 220 Volt receptacles for companies like Ebay, Netflix, the Stanford Organ Donor (List?), Friendster, various photo websites, even top dog games.  It took 300 of those receptacles, representing about 150 servers to set up the new cage for Mafia Wars (Myspace Games) Not that they draw a full 30 Amps, but the work in pairs and every 2 receptacles equalls about 25 Amps drawn.  That a ballpark amount of 825,000 watts of power to run useless Maria Wars!!
     I've worked at Western Digital's Magnetic Head Operation Center, where the do R&D and also make the little tiny head that reads and writes onto your hard drive.  That's all the facility does, yet it consumes soooo much power it requires its own substation.  I mean like its own own.  The are the only customer on their own grid.  The building has six 4000 amp 480 volt services, that's over 11 megawatts!
    This all makes me laugh when I turn off lights or install CFL's.  I still do, but it feels like whats the point when, I know where all the real power is going

lemonie (author)brian31402010-03-19

It's a small thing, I could go for an online dictionary, or I could reach over for my book (which I do)


brian3140 (author)lemonie2010-03-21

yup and it all adds up :)

ItsMooseJaw (author)2009-09-04

You've done exactly what you've told me not to. You've gave people tips on how to save internet energy?

Punkguyta (author)2009-07-26

This really does make sense though, it's like people posting useless videos on youtube and wasting 5 minutes of my time, they're also wasting my electricity and internet bandwidth.

A good name (author)Punkguyta2009-08-06

Hear you on those youtube videos... I really hate the low quality concert ones too.

lemonie (author)Punkguyta2009-07-26

Yes, that's it. The answers may be gathering dust on a shelf behind you... L

dark sponge (author)2009-07-25

Actually, I think your body would expel more than .2 grams of extra CO2 by taking the effort to flip through a book. So it is probably better for the environment to use the internet instead of books.

lemonie (author)dark sponge2009-07-25

But the energy you use in doing so is "green" - food is a renewable resource. L

dark sponge (author)lemonie2009-07-25

It depends on how you look at it. What if the person doing all of the searching eats lots of burgers? One cheeseburger emits as much CO2 as 15000 Google searches. Each way of searching hurts the planet differently. One releases more CO2 and kills more animals (or if you're a vegetarian, it kills more CO2 reducing plants), the other uses up our nonrenewable resources.

lemonie (author)dark sponge2009-07-26

You would advise that we do as little exercise & sports as possible then? (in the interest of CO2)


dark sponge (author)lemonie2009-07-26

No, I was just saying that either way of searching has its own small disadvantages.

lemonie (author)dark sponge2009-07-26

You're a bit less likely to develop RSI if you take your hands off the computer and pick up a book perhaps? L

sharlston (author)2009-06-10

wow i didnt know that 1 google search was 0.2 gram of co2 so how much would this comment be maybe half a gram?

lemonie (author)sharlston2009-06-11

Ah well, that's something else. I'd better go plant some trees... L

ElectricUmbrella (author)lemonie2009-07-20

or grow some plankton - they actually provide most of the oxygen.

sharlston (author)lemonie2009-06-11

mmm maybe we should stop writing long comments like this one about your fabulous instructable and how to use a dictonary

lemonie (author)sharlston2009-06-11

Maybe you should go to school, and I should go to work (bus 10 min)? L

sharlston (author)lemonie2009-06-11

my school starts at 10 to 9 but i go to breakfast club to have my breakfast and my mum runs it and i live next to the school which is really rubbish

lemonie (author)sharlston2009-06-11

Oh, yea that's probably not a fun thing. L

sharlston (author)lemonie2009-06-11

ye it really p***es me off all the time

lopoff (author)2009-06-17

well wouldent they have to chopdown a tree to make the book??????? so i think on some kind of scale wouldend choping down the tree that would that co2 and make oxagin be worse than creating that .02grams of co2.................... not to make argument or any thing.......

lemonie (author)lopoff2009-06-17

The books were printed before Google & Wikipedia existed, that is the main point. L

none92 (author)2009-06-12

Don't remove it, I find it great, it actually remind us to remember that we have dictionaries in our life and if zombies attack, well we run away with the dictionary instead with the whole desktop

lemonie (author)none922009-06-13

Well aye. And you can use heavy-books as weapons... L

TheWelfareWarrior (author)2009-06-11

Good job Captain Lemon. You even pointed out the fact that the book (if picked up second hand) is technically environmentally friendly. Oh god.... where's the 'check spelling' button!?!? It is missing in action! Oh, well, I'll just open another tab and google the words :P What about all of the energy a human wastes breathing/moving to get and search through the book? That's gotta be more than a google search..

You consider moving a waste of energy? Adds a whole lot more the the environmental impact of the Olympics doesn't it..? L

Well, Humans are only about 30% efficient at using the energy stored in food. The other 70% is wasted as heat. The energy required to keep a human alive, even when they are not doing anything is still quite a lot.

luvit (author)2009-06-11

i couldn't find the power switch.

Emsaid (author)luvit2009-06-11

Google it!

gmjhowe (author)2009-06-11

Some people of an older nature, that i know, because google loads auto. they then search for a website instead of having them bookmarked, or inputing the address.

lemonie (author)gmjhowe2009-06-11

Oh aye, and oh dear. Think how much energy was expended upon the area and circumference of a circle Instructables? It's in my 1988 Encyclopedia. Quick test - can you define what a circle is? L

gmjhowe (author)lemonie2009-06-11

No, i can not.

lemonie (author)gmjhowe2009-06-11

OED (pictured) doesn't give a great definition, but this is it:
1 a "a round plane figure whose circumference is everywhere equidistant from it's centre"


Emsaid (author)2009-06-11

Great ible! I hope you guys aren't for globule warming, Any ways Google is so fun! you can get math answered as soon as you type it in, you can get the history of a word super fast, There are some books on the internet that you can't find anywhere else, and .2 grams is tiny! .2 grams = 0.000440924524 pounds, i guess there are a lot of Google searches, but I would suggest not driving your car but riding your bike or taking the bus. not trying to be mean

lemonie (author)Emsaid2009-06-11

There are a lot of Google searches, and a lot of them are unnecessary. People have a lot of the answers in their house already (family included).


About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an experimentalist, a scientist and I have a tendency to do things just for the sake of doing them, or to find out ... More »
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