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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Second Life Contributes to Global Warming?

Your Second Life is about as costly as your first life. In ecological terms, that is. Nicholas Carr did the necessary calculations and found out that your average avatar consumes about as much electricity as an average Brazilian.
So an avatar consumes 1,752 kWh per year. By comparison, the average human, on a worldwide basis, consumes 2,436 kWh per year. So there you have it: an avatar consumes a bit less energy than a real person, though they're in the same ballpark.

More narrowly still, the average citizen of Brazil consumes 1,884 kWh, which, given the fact that my avatar estimate was rough and conservative, means that your average Second Life avatar consumes about as much electricity as your average Brazilian.

Where does global warming fit in? Dave Douglas ran the figures and found that
looking at CO2 production, 1,752 kWH/year per avatar is about 1.17 tons of CO2. That's the equivalent of driving an SUV around 2,300 miles (or a Prius around 4,000)
While there's nothing particularly new about the fact that data centers use exorbitant amounts of electricity, putting it in the context of Second Life does give it an interesting twist.


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