A Life Cycle Energy Comparison of Two Journal Collections: Electronic and Traditional
Computer networking is a significant and growing socio-technological phenomenon. As with any complex human system, its environmental impacts are difficult to discern. The challenge of determining energy consumption related to the operation and support of IT networks is compounded by the need to consider potential substitutions or technology displacements caused by networking. A comparative life cycle energy analysis was conducted for two journal collections: electronic and traditional print. Findings indicate that neither system has a clear energy advantage over the other, relative performance varies depending on the scenario considered In particular, results for both systems depend highly upon the actual number of readings per journal article due to the allocation of fixed energy burdens. In addition, energy consumed by networking infrastructure is relatively insignificant compared with other system elements in the electronic journal collection.