Turn off HD video to help save the planet, government tells suppliers

Providers of government contracts should show standard-definition video rather than HD to help tackle climate change, ministers said.

Guidelines issued by the Cabinet Office encourage providers to reduce their energy consumption by limiting their use of multimedia media such as photos and videos, and using the lighter HTML file format rather than PDF documents when sharing information.

He asks contractors to “choose less energy-consuming multimedia formats, such as standard definition rather than high definition videos”.

The guidelines were added as a new “sustainability” requirement to the government’s Technology Code of Practice, which advises departments on how to purchase and use technology.

The Royal Society has estimated that streaming in ultra high definition, or 4K, uses up to eight times more power than standard definition and is often unnecessary, such as when watching videos on smaller screens.

The government has been pushing to make the technology more sustainable amid growing concerns about its energy use and its impact on the planet.

Departments are expected to ensure suppliers meet carbon reduction targets on contracts worth over £ 5million in accordance with Department of Environment, Food and Environment procurement guidelines. of Rural Affairs.

His advice for IT contracts includes removing duplicate data sets and using cloud computing providers, which typically rely on green energy. The government has legislated Britain to be net zero by 2050.

Emissions from the technology are estimated to increase by 6% per year, despite efforts by large companies to locate data centers in cold destinations that reduce cooling costs and to embrace renewables.

Big cloud computing companies have pledged to rely entirely on renewable energy and be carbon neutral or carbon negative in the years to come.

The government also encourages suppliers to reduce electronic waste by recycling or reusing IT equipment.

Digital activity such as streaming has a relatively small carbon footprint compared to transport and heating, although its increasing use has raised climate concerns.

The Carbon Trust has estimated that one hour of video streaming generates approximately 55 grams of carbon, which is equivalent to traveling approximately 300 meters in a car.

A Royal Society report last year urged YouTube users to turn off the video if they only listened to audio, saying it could reduce the service’s broadcasts by up to 5%.

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