And smartphone energy consumption is only going to increase.
Charging up this puppy comes at a cost.
How much energy does it take to power your smartphone addiction?
The average iPhone uses more energy than a midsize refrigerator, says a new paper by Mark Mills, CEO of Digital Power Group, a tech investment advisory. A midsize refrigerator that qualifies for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating uses about 322 kW-h a year, while your iPhone uses about 361 kW-h if you stack up wireless connections, data usage, and battery charging.
The paper, rather ominously titled "The Cloud Begins With Coal: Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure, and Big Power," details how the world's Information Communication Technology (ITC) ecosystem — which includes smartphones, those high-powered Bloomberg terminals on trading floors, and server farms that span the size of seven football fields — are taking up a larger and larger slice of the world's energy pie.
The slice right now, according to Mills, is about 10 percent, or 1,500 terawatt hours of energy per year. (For context, one terawatt hour is one trillion watt hours, and one watt terawatt hour can power about 90,000 homes per year) Much of that energy is going to server farms, those giant clusters of computer servers that power "the cloud," as well as wireless networks.