Carbon Footprint of World Community Grid

After my first successful overnight contribution of compute power to the World Community Grid, I started wondering about the energy part of that donation, and then the overall CO2 footprint of all of the computing being done. Given our global energy and climate situation, sometimes we have hard decisions to make: Do I reduce my individual CO2 footprint by powering off my PC at night, or do I leave it on and contribute computing power toward solving some of the world’s other problems? I don’t have an answer yet, but figured I’d at least share my “napkin” calculations.

The World Community Grid, whose mission is to “create the world’s largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity”, reports 466,581 years of compute time has been racked up as of 5/13/2011 9AM.

466,581 years is 4,087,249,560 hours

At 100W assumed for a computing device running at full steam, that’s 408,724,956 kWh.

According to carbonfund.org, an average kWh of electricity translates to 1.297 lbs CO2 emissions.

The carbon footprint of the WCG, using my numbers, is 530,116,268 lbs of CO2 since its inception.