Video streaming: type of data transmission influences climate compatability

09/10/2020 | Press release No. 144/20 | digitalization, Joint press release with the Federal Environment Agency

Green cloud computing: energy and resource requirements of digital infrastructures

Auto translated from German

For video streaming in HD quality, different amounts of greenhouse gas emissions arise depending on the transmission technology. The share of CO 2 emissions from data processing in the data center is relatively low at 1.5 grams of CO 2 per hour. The decisive factor for the climate compatibility of cloud services such as video streaming, however, is the technology with which the data is transmitted from there to the users. Depending on the type of data transmission, greenhouse gas emissions can be saved to a considerable extent. This is shown by the first research results commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency.

The lowest CO 2 pollution occurs when the HD video is streamed home via a fiber optic connection, with only 2 grams of CO 2 per hour of video streaming for the data center and data transmission. For copper cables (VDSL) it is 4 grams. With a data transfer with UMTS (3 G), however, it is 90 grams of CO 2 per hour. If the data is instead transmitted using 5G transmission technology, only around 5 grams of CO 2 are emitted per hour. The power consumption of the end device is not taken into account in this calculation.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze: “So far, the data on the climate impact of digital infrastructure has been more than poor. That is why we are working to close the existing knowledge gaps with good research. Because: Good politics needs a good database. The latest findings now show us: Climate-friendly streaming is possible if you do it right and choose the right way to transfer data. From an environmental point of view, it is a good idea to set up more public WiFi hotspots, because this is more climate-friendly than streaming in the cellular network


Dirk Messner, President of the Federal Environment Agency: “Good news for fans of film and series: If you stream at home via fiber optics or VDSL, you can do so with a good climate awareness. But the amount of data that surrounds us will grow steadily over the next few years, whether Networked driving, home cinema or video conferences. It is therefore important to find the most climate-friendly transmission routes. Our research shows that we should invest more in the expansion of fiber optic networks. From a climate protection perspective, the new 5G transmission technology is also very promising. “

Read the full press release at:

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