Measuring Emissions for Consumer Devices

Overview of Emissions by Device

This graphic, from Malmodin and Lundén, is a useful overview of emissions from production vs use phase. Note that the numbers here are slightly different than the aggregated conclusions we draw below.

Footprint by device

Calculating Lifecycle Emissions Per Second of Use

The Lifecycle Annual Footprint (LAF) of a particular device, per Belkhir and Elmeligi, is the Use Phase Energy (UPE) plus the Production Energy (PE) divided by the Useful Life (UL). In other words, “the Lifecycle Annual Footprint accounts for the annual footprint of both the use phase as well as the production energy, depreciating the production energy over the useful lifetime of the device.

LAF = (UPE + PE) / UL

Production is done around the world, not where consumer use occurs, whereas we need to calculate the UPE based on the consumer’s grid mix. We calculate Production Energy per Use Second (PEPS) using the daily usage in hours (DU):

PEPS = PE / (365 • UL • DU • 3600)

To calculate the Lifecycle Emissions Per Second of Use (LEPS), we multiply the grid intensity of the consumer’s location (GI) and the usage energy of the consumer device (UEPS) and add this to the production energy per second (PEPS).


The following sections outline the sources and assumptions used to calculate these metrics for various device types.

Personal Computer

From Negaoctet:

DeviceLifetime impact excluding use (kgCO2e)Description
Desktop277Desktop; personal use; average configuration: 1 CPU, 10 GB RAM, 1173 GB HDD, 442 GB SSD, mix of integrated or separated graphic card, 6 years lifespan; RAS
Laptop175Laptop; use mix, personal use; average configuration: 14,6 inches screen, 1 CPU, 11 GB RAM, 497 GB SSD, 5 years lifespan; RAS
Monitor69Computer monitors; use mix, personal and professional use; average dimension (24 inches) and technology (98.6% LCD, 1.4% OLED), 6,6 years lifespan; RAS

From Urban et al:

DeviceInstalled base (M)Power Draw (w)Usage (h/day)
Desktop7259 (idle), 85 (active)4.6 (idle), 4.8 (active)
Laptop12211 (idle), 22 (active)3.0 (idle), 3.7 (active)

Since we do not know the exact device a consumer is using (most reporting is aggregated to device type), we use install base to create a synthetic “personal computer”. See PC emissions model. Based on this analysis, a personal computer uses an average of 53.2 W of energy while in use, and has Production Energy of 0.005 gCO2e per second of use.

Visual representation of the PC emissions model


From Negaoctet, a “Tablet; use mix, personal or professional use; average configuration: 10.44 inches screen mix of LCD screen, 4 GB RAM, 121 GB memory, 3 years lifespan; RAS” has 25.3 kgCO2e per year of embodied emissions.

We don’t have a stat on daily usage of tablets. Assuming that people use them in lieu of a laptop, taking the laptop number of 6.7 hours a day. This yields a PEPS of 0.00287 gCO2e/s.

For energy use, iBatteryLife compares multiple iPad models and battery life is around 10 hours for each. The average iPad, per Sir Apfelot, has around 30 Wh of battery capacity. Thus, a tablet has an average power draw of 3W.


From Negaoctet, a “smartphone; use mix, personal use; average configuration: 6,61 inches screen mix of LCD and OLED technologies, 7,3 GB RAM, 180 GB memory, 2,5 years lifespan; RAS” has 33.6 kgCO2e per year of embodied emissions.

The typical person uses her phone for 4 hours and 23 minutes a day per Statista. This yields a PEPS of 0.0058 gCO2e/s. (Note: SRI uses a 3 hrs/day number)

As an example, per GSM Arena, the Apple iPhone 13 takes 16 hours and 8 minutes to run out of battery when browsing the internet (similar to video playback). In idle mode, it takes 174 hours to discharge. It has 12.41Wh of battery capacity per Macworld. Thus, the iphone consumes 0.77W when active, and 0.071W when idle.


From Urban et al:

DeviceInstalled base (M)Power Draw (w)Usage (h/day)
STB: Non-DVR1132211.7
STB: DVR541311.7
STB: Thin Client33711.7
STB: DTA Adapter31524
Sound Bar2014 (active) 9 (idle)4.4 (active) 5.7 (idle)

We combine these using install base to create a synthetic “TV System” that represents the full power draw of the consumer setup. The weighted power draw of a typical setup is 87.4 watts.

From the Negaoctet database, the production emissions from a 45” television (98.6% LCD, 1.4% OLED) are 45 kgCO2e per year over an 8 year useful life.

Based on the above Urban data, 58.8% of TVs have set top boxes. From the Negaoctet data, the production emissions from a set top box are 7.22 kgCO2e per year for a “Modem; use mix, personal and professional use; xDSL, FTTx, 5 years lifespan; RAS”

Based on 3.9 hours/day of usage, the embodied emissions from a TV and set top box are 0.0096 gCO2e/s.

A detailed study of many TV models can be found at, indicating that the average power draw of a TV in the US is 59W active, 0.5W standby. This data is not tied to a scientific study but does indicate that overall power usage may have declined since the Urban study above.

Smart Speaker

From a NRDC report by Horowitz, Hardy, and Tian:

DeviceInstalled base (M)Power draw (W)Usage (h/day)
Google Home Mini41.73.5
Amazon Echo (2nd gen)352.43.5
Google Home82.23.5
Apple HomePod35.93.5

The weighted power draw of a typical smart speaker is 2.5 watts.

Assuming a use life of 3 years for a smart speaker (similar to a tablet) and 84 kgCO2e of impact from (Amazon Echo Dot LCA) and 3.5 hours/day of usage, the embodied emissions from a smart speaker are 0.0061 gCO2e/s.


DevicePower Draw (W)PEPS (gCO2e/s)
Personal computer53.20.007
TV System87.40.0096
Smart Speaker2.50.0061

Notes and Caveats

  • All of our data is US-centric and probably does not represent typical devices or configurations in less-wealthy countries.


Belkhir and Elmeligi, 2018

Lotfi Belkhir, Ahmed Elmeligi, Assessing ICT global emissions footprint: Trends to 2040 & recommendations, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 177, 2018, Pages 448-463, ISSN 0959-6526.


iPhone Battery Capacities Compared

GSM Arena

GSM Arena battery calculator

Urban et al, 2019

Urban, Bryan & Roth, Kurt & Singh, Mahendra & Howes, Duncan. (2019). Residential Consumer Electronics Energy Consumption in the United States in 2017. 10.2760/667696.

Hischier and Baudin, 2010

Hischier, Roland & Baudin, Isabelle. (2010). LCA study of a plasma television device. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 15. 428-438. 10.1007/s11367-010-0169-2.

Kwiecień et al, 2019

Kwiecień, Klaudia & Kania, Gabriela & Malinowski, Mateusz. (2019). The life cycle assessment (LCA) of selected TV models.

Malmodin and Lundén, 2018

Malmodin J, Lundén D. The Energy and Carbon Footprint of the Global ICT and E&M Sectors 2010–2015. Sustainability. 2018; 10(9):3027.


Description of Negaoctet

Negaoctet ADEME database 1.4

NRDC, 2019

Horowitz, Hardy, and Tien. The Energy Impacts of Smart Speakers and Video Streaming Devices, August 2019

Amazon, 2023

Amazon Echo Show 5 3rd Gen Product Sustainability Fact Sheet