Heater
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:52 pm

jamesh,
..as Tesco would say, every little helps..
I would not want to disagree with the marketing department of Tesco's, purveyors of fine produce that they are. Actually I'm pretty sure I did not.
Using the excuse that the bigger boys are doing it, so why should I bother, will lead to disaster.
I did not make such an excuse either.

If I take what you and others are saying to heart then I have to cancel my imminent purchase of a four gigabyte Pi 4. Clearly it is a unnecessary and frivolous waste of the world's resources. I'll have to make my Christmas holiday project something more ecologically viable. I don't know, making models out twigs I find around the place or some such.

Ah well.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

emma1997
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:19 pm

Doesn't seem very many here are concerned with energy efficiency of Pi. Seems ludicrous to me that a huge percentage of projects discussed here would be far better off with PIC, AVR, or STM32 etc. In many cases we are talking 1000x more power for no good reason. However must admit Pi actually is more efficient compared to old school PC which it's approaching in terms of performance.

I do agree with Wolfz's 'every little bit add up' belief. ONE car or ONE cow will have minimal impact but...

I was surprised to find that my electric bicycles actually have more footprint than bigger vehicles like gas driven motorcycles or even some cars. Currently due to mining the nickel in those lithium batteries.
Last edited by emma1997 on Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:22 pm

The Pi is very good for what it is.
My concern is when people buy them to turn them into clocks and similar devices, using exponentially more energy and resources than what an actual clock does...
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emma1997
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:31 pm

Well we must admit there is the learning/education aspect which is a major charter point IIRC. However for actual purpose driven devices it can get ridiculous sometimes.

I recall maybe 5-6yrs ago on the RC Groups site and even recently here several inquiries about using PI for plane or multicopter control. Users desperate to include their new toy even if it made no sense. Really big models, maybe where WIFI or BT is required or power efficiency and weight are not that important. Usually ESP would be a better choice. Internet programming maybe easier on a Pi though.

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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:11 pm

jamesh wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:54 pm
On the other hand, as Tesco would say, every little helps. Or alternatively, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

Using the excuse that the bigger boys are doing it, so why should I bother, will lead to disaster.
It not about looking for an excuse, its the inward facing navel gazing and hand wringing while a small number of countries are increasing global pollution faster than everyone else is decreasing it, and no one at a country to country level is doing much about it. Potentially because that would mean taking a hard look at a personal level of where the next smartphone is going to come from and at a country level of who your trading partners are. I am in total agreement with doing the right things to avoid contributing to the problem, but people are just kidding themselves that fixing the small contributors is magically going to solve the problem while the large contributors go unchecked.

I do not have the source handy but the number that gets kicked around is that Canada is responsible for 2% of the global problem. If we go to 0 it does not matter in terms of changing anything since the global increase due to a small number of countries is much much more. The delta is still going the wrong way. Until that gets addressed it just smoke and mirrors.

Back to my boat metaphor, they are drilling big holes faster than I am patching the small ones. All we are doing right now is rearranging the deck chairs. It a feel good exercise, but you are still going swimming.

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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:35 pm

bjtheone wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:04 pm
if I am put in charge of dealing with the sinking ship, I am patching the biggest leaks first.
While waiting for those who can fix it to actually fix it I'll make sure I keep baling out as much water out as I can.
emma1997 wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:19 pm
Doesn't seem very many here are concerned with energy efficiency of Pi. Seems ludicrous to me that a huge percentage of projects discussed here would be far better off with PIC, AVR, or STM32 etc. In many cases we are talking 1000x more power for no good reason. However must admit Pi actually is more efficient compared to old school PC which it's approaching in terms of performance.
The Pi is also pretty energy efficient so I guess for most it is the least of their worries.

But, in terms of using power for no good reason, I 'carbon neutralise' my always-on Pi Zero W by turning the lights off while watching TV for a few hours a year. A single 100Wh saved allows me to instead run that Pi Zero for 130 days.

The latest Pi's are also pretty efficient, but a 100Wh saved only neutralises a Pi 4B for 33 days.

Of course neither are significant considering the MW's of energy we each otherwise consume every year.

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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:42 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:22 pm
The Pi is very good for what it is.
My concern is when people buy them to turn them into clocks and similar devices, using exponentially more energy and resources than what an actual clock does...
What is the power requirement of a commercial internet streaming alarm clock? (That's even assuming it is capable of displaying the associated metadata.) I'm using a Pi2Bv1.1, so the whole runs on less than 10 watts (excluding the speakers...which were repurposed from other uses, so no new raw materials there).

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Imperf3kt
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:31 am

Depends on what an internet streaming alarm clock even is :shock:
Ultimately that begs the question; do you really need those features?
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:27 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:31 am
Depends on what an internet streaming alarm clock even is :shock:
Ultimately that begs the question; do you really need those features?
Define "need". It functions as a radio alarm in a location that is sufficiently earth-sheltered that broadcast signals aren't received. At least for the only station (classical music) in the region that both of us are willing to listen to.

wolf.z
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:42 am

When asking for the ecological footprint of anything, data are rare. Numbers vary a lot if available at all. So here's the range of embodied energy, since research for embodied energy is an ongoing process, already delivering rough measures in a world of otherwise missing data. And be aware, it is all estimates:
Typical PC 3.000kWh
Laptop 600kWh
Raspberry?
Raspberry's main chips (just the chips): 6kWh

Do not take numbers for granted.

In comparison.
One-year consumption of a family including cooking, cooling...: 3.000kWh
Excessive shower: 6kWh

https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/06 ... ology.html
https://blog.openenergymonitor.org/2015 ... energy-of/

bjtheone
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:15 pm

hippy wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:35 pm
bjtheone wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:04 pm
if I am put in charge of dealing with the sinking ship, I am patching the biggest leaks first.
While waiting for those who can fix it to actually fix it I'll make sure I keep baling out as much water out as I can.
My issue is not that folks are bailing (ie doing their part, making the situation better not worse), it is them thinking that "doing their part" is going to solve the problem. In the boat situation, you are going to sink. Perhaps handing out life jackets is a better use of your time.

Regarding global warming, in democratic countries, insisting your elected leaders actually apply economic pressure to drive change and compliance with other countries is likely a better use of your time. You also can apply economic pressure personally by "voting" with your dollars.

MarkTF
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:47 pm

Heater wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:20 am
By comparing weight, price and quantity alone we already can discount the Pi as a major contributor to the world's energy consumption and ecological disaster problems. It's impact is lost in the noise!
Whether or not the Pi is a major contributor to world energy consumption and ecological impacts is a different question from that of quantifying (or at least bounding) the impact of the Pi as an isolated example of electronics manufacturing and consumption.

This in general is the difficulty with having sane discussions about environmental issues. People have difficulty separating evaluation of the problem (the science) with the response to the problem (inevitably political) with the result of polluting the facts of the matter with political misinformation.

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:12 pm

bjtheone wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:15 pm
hippy wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:35 pm
bjtheone wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:04 pm
if I am put in charge of dealing with the sinking ship, I am patching the biggest leaks first.
While waiting for those who can fix it to actually fix it I'll make sure I keep baling out as much water out as I can.
My issue is not that folks are bailing (ie doing their part, making the situation better not worse), it is them thinking that "doing their part" is going to solve the problem.
Do people think that? I think I do what I can, but I understand that governments/big companies need to do the majority of the work. But worth considering that the young people who do small things now are also the people who will form governments in the future, where they can start doing the big things. If there is a future.
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hippy
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:41 pm

bjtheone wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:15 pm
hippy wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:35 pm
bjtheone wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:04 pm
if I am put in charge of dealing with the sinking ship, I am patching the biggest leaks first.
While waiting for those who can fix it to actually fix it I'll make sure I keep baling out as much water out as I can.
My issue is not that folks are bailing (ie doing their part, making the situation better not worse), it is them thinking that "doing their part" is going to solve the problem. In the boat situation, you are going to sink. Perhaps handing out life jackets is a better use of your time.
I don't think people do think what they are doing is going to solve the problem, just that it's better than doing nothing. And if not prepared to do that, it allows those who should be doing something to hide behind 'if you aren't willing to do anything then why should we'?

The whole 'I'm not doing anything because it won't be enough anyway, is pointless to do' runs all the way to the top, as a reality or a mere excuse. Doing something, no matter how futile, at least establishes a moral right to complain that others who should be doing more are doing less, and that becomes a collective pressure which hopefully eventually forces the reluctant to 'get with the programme'.

Most would argue there are no lifeboats. We're just buying time until we solve the problem or don't.

Heater
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:21 pm

MarkTF,
People have difficulty separating evaluation of the problem (the science)...
I think wieghing and counting are methods pretty fundamental to science. Hence my suggestion.

Price can make a good proxy for the amount of materials used and energy burned to make the thing. Outside of things like the fashion industry where brand names command high prices for nothing much.

All in all a good start to any scientific investigation of this issue.

It seems to me that after that one should not be looking at the Pi in particular. It's just electronics like all the other electronic junk we have around. Much the same components and materials are used, much the same manufacturing processes.

Those capacitors on the board for example. What are they made of? Where does that come from? What damage to the environment is done by all that material extraction and manufacturing processes. I read that tantalum capacitors are problematic.

The capacitor problem is common to all the electronics you have, in you Pi, in your PC/laptop, in your phone, your TV, your car, your light bulbs....

Then what about the resistors? What about the actual silicon chips, the packaging, the board material the connectors, the plating on the connectors....

Chasing down the supply chain of any one of those items to the end would no doubt produce interesting results.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

hippy
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:30 pm

Idle musing : I calculate there's around 1.5 million Kg of Pi boards and related packaging out there; 1,500 tonnes.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 2:50 am

Idle musing : I calculate there's around 1.5 million Kg of Pi boards and related packaging out there; 1,500 tonnes.
How much energy is that if it is burnt in a "renewable" waste to energy incinerator?

Top two google results
https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/enviro ... 24111.html
https://www.usi.edu/recycle/paper-recycling-facts/

Burning in an incinerator for energy makes lots of CO2 among other things like dioxins.

I have lots of old PC boat anchors, how many PI's are equivalent to a single PC?
I don't throw (m)any old PC's away and I won't be throwing Pi's away either.

So what about the packaging.
Can trees be saved by not including the little booklet?
It seems a waste for large qty Pi users to get multiple version of those.
The cardboard box itself, energy content of that and recycling uses?
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Imperf3kt
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 3:10 am

The cardboard box is lined with an antistatic lining, it can be reused.

Does that weight figure take into account the proportion of Pi zeros to Pi 3s etc? A Pi Zero clearly weighs less than a Pi3b+
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Heater
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:25 am

This thread is causing me a moral dilemma.

Last week I rescued an old PC that was on it's way to the dumpster. Thinking I could make use of some parts. Turned out that it's in very good, clean, condition and works just fine. It's an Athlon II, 2.6GHz, 4 cores, GB RAM, 500GB HD, GeForce GT 230 graphics card. About half the speed of the much newer machine I use everyday. Using the license sticker on the box I installed Win 7 and upgraded it to Win 10.

I have no need for it and no space to have it hanging around. What to do:

a) Send it back on it's way to the landfill.

b) Donate it to someone that needs a computer, where it's excessive energy consumption will continue contributing to global warming.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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rpdom
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:45 am

Heater wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:25 am
This thread is causing me a moral dilemma.

Last week I rescued an old PC that was on it's way to the dumpster. Thinking I could make use of some parts. Turned out that it's in very good, clean, condition and works just fine. It's an Athlon II, 2.6GHz, 4 cores, GB RAM, 500GB HD, GeForce GT 230 graphics card. About half the speed of the much newer machine I use everyday. Using the license sticker on the box I installed Win 7 and upgraded it to Win 10.

I have no need for it and no space to have it hanging around. What to do:

a) Send it back on it's way to the landfill.

b) Donate it to someone that needs a computer, where it's excessive energy consumption will continue contributing to global warming.
Do what I'm planning to do with all my old PCs (of which I have a fair number), take them to your local waste recycling centre where they will be sent off to be sorted and stripped down for any reusable parts or materials and only what can't be utilised will go to landfill.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:13 am

Athlon II, 2.6GHz, 4 cores, GB RAM, 500GB HD, GeForce GT 230 graphics
Not much better than my Celeron Duo which this Pi4B4 has replaced.
It's currently sitting there unfixed, taking up desk space since my first Pi4 arrived.

What do we do with PC's now that the Pi4 is a reasonable desktop replacement?
Ewaste recycling, door stops, dust collectors?
Or start personal museums to show the Grand-kids of the time before Pi's?
in a box somewhere I should still have my ZX81.

The Pi box is much smaller than all previous PC motherboard boxes.
So what is the difference between a Pi and a PC footprint wise?
Is it 1% of a PC in volume of materials?
Max 15W and a PC is few hundred watts, 5% of the PC's energy?

What would be required to make RPF eco neutral or negative?
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hippy
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:14 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 3:10 am
Does that weight figure take into account the proportion of Pi zeros to Pi 3s etc? A Pi Zero clearly weighs less than a Pi3b+
It was guesstimate, based on 70g for a Pi 4B times 20 million, a reduced figure to reflect some sold are Zeroes and CM's.
Heater wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:25 am
b) Donate it to someone that needs a computer, where it's excessive energy consumption will continue contributing to global warming.
If they were going to buy a comparable PC and use energy consequently that's a zero-change outcome. But it avoids the impact of requiring another PC to be built, avoids the impact of disposing of the unwanted.

The exact determination of what's best isn't easy but I think most people would consider passing on and re-using until its life is genuinely up is better than not doing so. Hence increasing focus on lifetime of product and repairability.

Heater
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:20 am

rpdom,
Do what I'm planning to do with all my old PCs (of which I have a fair number), take them to your local waste recycling centre where they will be sent off to be sorted and stripped down for any reusable parts or materials and only what can't be utilised will go to landfill.
Good suggestions. They are the obvious things that come to mind. We do indeed have a recycling center in town. I have a couple of issues with them though:

1) I have not owned a car for twenty years. I'm not about to start hauling such things across town on the bus. Even if there was a bus that went out there. Of course if I did own a car I'd be contributing massively more to the problem that we want to fix.

2) I have yet to see any evidence that such recycling actually happens.

I have been reading of companies in the US taking old electronics away for "recycling", for a fee, only to have it collected in huge piles as they can no longer ship it to places like Africa easily and actually striping, sorting, recycling is not economically viable.

Close to home our local University got into a bit of a scandal over this. All their old stuff is sent for recycling. The scandal was that someone found a PC monitor with a university sticker on it, in a trash pile in a village in Africa where young kids were climbing around trying to see if there was anything of any value at all.

Also, around here we all carefully separate out our trash into paper, glass, bio, "other" bins. Turns out the glass all goes in the land fill anyway as it's to mixed up to be of any use.

Let's just say I don't have much confidence in this so called recycling.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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rpdom
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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:28 am

Heater:

Fair points. There have been concerns about plastic recycling over here recently. Metal, paper, food waste and cardboard are recycled (although I try to reuse and compost as much as is safe).

I do hope that the electrical waste (under the WEEE regulations) are handled properly. I shall have to go to my local recycling facility on their next open day and quiz them.

I do have a car. I've had it for about 14 years now. It has a few minor problems, but I should be able to keep it running for a lot longer. I don't drive a lot. Maybe 3500 miles in a year. But there are things you do need a car for at times, depending on your circumstances.

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Re: Raspberry pi ecological footprint

Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:38 am

hippy,
If they were going to buy a comparable PC and use energy consequently that's a zero-change outcome.
I guess a zero change outcome is tolerable. Others might argue it is not, in general anyway.

Do normal people still by PC's? There are precious few on display in our biggest electronics/computer super-store apart from a few monster gaming rigs that look like they consume megawatts and cost outrageous amounts. There are none on display in normal "white box" stores, only a sea of phones and tablets, it's hard to find a laptop even. I even remarked about this the other day when checking out phones in such a store with a friend, "The PC era is well and truly over".

Oddly enough the PC era came and went and I never actually bought one. The last computer I bought new was my Atari ST 520. But then I'm weird, I have never owned a TV either.

Anyway, it seems to be hard to unload an old style PC box, especially with no screen or keyboard. Those I know that buy PC's are buying "the drippers" from AMD. Those that just want an internet are wanting laptops and tabs.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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