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Greener comms – cut down on video calls

Video meetings use a lot of energy - but they're a good alternative to travel

Video calls and meetings are energy-hungry:

  • A one-hour video call with two people uses 300MB
  • A one-hour video call using high-definition video uses between 1 and 2GB depending on your screen size
  • A one-hour audio call with two people (no video) uses around 30MB.

[Source: Gerry McGovern, Digital is Physical]

Video versus travel

If video conferencing replaces travel to reach meetings, it can be far better for the environment. Video conferencing produces just 7% of the emissions of meeting in person.  [Source: BBC]

But with so many people switching to video calls as the default, it’s worth reflecting on whether video is always necessary.

How you can help

Switching to phone calls is the best solution. But if your meeting has to be done online:

  • Use video at the beginning to say hello, then switch to audio (this emits 90% less pollution than a cameras-on meeting)
  • Keep it as short as possible
  • Invite only essential participants
  • Use the lowest resolution and the smallest screen possible
  • Avoid virtual backgrounds
  • Consider using Zoom rather than Teams, as Zoom is two to three times more energy efficient
  • Choose a video conferencing provider that’s committed to using 100% renewable energy (e.g. Google Meet)
  • Don’t record and save the meeting…
  • … But if you do, delete any saved videos after three months
  • Switch off video for webinars.

Also in this guide

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