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Slightly OT: Blue Ray vs HD; Which is more "green"?

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Brent Altomare
Slightly OT: Blue Ray vs HD; Which is more "green"?
on May 1, 2008 at 8:47:17 pm

Like many others, we're working on reducing our carbon footprint by reducing our energy usage, reducing waste, implementing a recycling program, etc etc etc...

We currently use firewire hard drives for medium-term storage/archiving of clients' projects. What I'm wondering is when compared gig-for-gig which is more environmentally friendly: a hard drive or Blue Ray disk?

I can't seem to find much info on the Interwebs, so I thought I would try the LazyCow. Thoughts?

Thanks!

--
Brent Altomare
Groovy Like a Movie
(877) 3-GROOVY


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Eric Pautsch
Re: Slightly OT: Blue Ray vs HD; Which is more "green"?
on May 1, 2008 at 10:51:46 pm

Are these digital file or projects you can put onto tape? Tape is the cheapest, longest lasting and reliable archiving medium. It would seem to be the greenest but I can't be sure about that.

Blu Ray is a very expensive archive medium at this point. On top of that it has had no real world testing since its such a new technology. Look at a recent post on the DVDSP forum about some guy who seems to missing data from some of his discs.

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/155/869969

For the price of a burner and a blank disc you could get yourself 2 Terabytes of HDD space that would take but less space than a stack of BD-R discs.

Not sure what goes into HDD production but you'd be surprised how much toxins are involved in BD production - especially at replication plants. Huge amounts of waste and blown discs are required before you start getting good discs. I'm assuming the same might be the case in producing BD-Rs?

So if you concerned about being "green" I'd probably go the HDD route. It's 5x cheaper as well.



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Brent Altomare
Re: Slightly OT: Blue Ray vs HD; Which is more "green"?
on May 1, 2008 at 11:23:29 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Eric!

Basically all I'm looking at right now is the relative "green-ness" of the medium.

The other factors you mention certainly weigh on the decision as well, but all of those are known variables (or known unknowns in the case of how reliable Blue Ray will be in the long run).

Keep in mind that unless the HD manufacturer specifically has taken action, there's a ton of toxins going into production there as well. I should look at manufacturers that tout that they've reduced toxins and heavy metals out of their process...

--
Brent Altomare
Groovy Like a Movie
(877) 3-GROOVY


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Mike Cohen
Re: Slightly OT: Blue Ray vs HD; Which is more "green"?
on May 2, 2008 at 3:49:17 pm

pretty much every electronic product is made with plastic (petroleum), metal (mining), silicon (beach erosion?) and energy, both at the factory, in the shipping of raw materials and finished goods, and most of these things are made overseas.

I think a better approach to going green is looking at more local means, such as heating and cooling.


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Brent Altomare
Re: Slightly OT: Blue Ray vs HD; Which is more "green"?
on May 2, 2008 at 4:59:11 pm

Thanks for the input Mike!

We're implementing a business-wide green initiative, of which this decision is only one element.

--

Brent Altomare

View Brent Altomare's profile on LinkedIn


Groovy Like a Movie



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Mark Suszko
Re: Slightly OT: Blue Ray vs HD; Which is more "green"?
on May 3, 2008 at 7:20:56 pm

Some of the most obvious measures you can take to be greener would include using fluorescent lighting over tungsten where possible, particularly in the studio. Not only do the fluoros draw less power, they make much less heat, which means you spend less energy on noisy air conditioning to counter that heat. Our studio users really appreciate the cool- running lighting. Our accountants appreciate the lower costs to operate and long life of the lights.

Batteries are another area to look at, lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries are much less toxic than other chemistries and don't contaminate landfills or ground water when disposed of, like nicads or lead-acid would. Note though that the lead from PL batteries, particularly car batteries, is very often recovered and recycled, which saves a lot of energy, reduces production pollution and reduces the need to mine more lead. If you don't have a policy for the spent dry cells used for wireless mics and etc. you should. I understand some folks donate half-used cells to hospitals for use in kid's toys for the patients, etc. Some dump the used cells off at radio shack or a battery store for proper disposal. Frankly, I don't use rechargeables in our wireless, we have not gotten the duration or load ability we needed yet out of nicads in our wireless, but it may be time to revisit that once more with Lipo cells.

Switching from mailing tapes to mailing DVD disks or, better yet, using pure internet file transfers where possible reduces weight and bulk and amount of packing material which saves on mailing and shipping costs and the gas spent to move the media. As well as postage.

You can reduce power drain at night by actually powering down monitors and putting computers to sleep or completely off at night. In the olden days, we tended to keep all the electro-mechanical hardware on 24/7/365 because the thermal expansion and contraction of warming up and cooling down made components, boards, connections, and mechanisms more failure-prone than leaving them to achieve a steady state. With modern technology this is much less the case now, so this is an old habit that might need to be re-evaluated.

What kind of printers do you use? Lasers are more economical and less wasteful over the long term than inkjets. Can you look at your labeling of products and reduce ink use? Can you do a better job of planning duplication runs that are "just in time", so you don't rack up a lot of storage costs for pre-printed media that may never get used, or overages that have to be destroyed? Can you use drop-ship or combine shipments that can somehow "car pool" to and from suppliers and save a trip?

You could also choose to pay more to the power company for power that comes from renewable sources, or you could purchase carbon offsets if you believe in that system (some just call it a scam, but that's for some other forum to explore, we shouldn't get too political here).

Look at your parking lot and building. A white-coated roof reduces building AC costs and reduces city heat island effect dramatically. A parking lot that has a porous surface will allow rain and snowmelt to percolate into the soil and self-clean as well as recharge the water table, instead of running off into sewers and rivers as floodwater, carrying oil drippings and road salt into the municipal water system. Belts of grass and shrubs around the lot periphery act as an additional barrier and filter for water, and if they shade the lot at all, again reduce the air temps. The difference between a sealed blacktop lot and a porous concrete tiled one can be 20 degrees at noon. Ask an architect about LEED credits some time and you'll get hours' worth of tips like this.

These are choices you have direct control over, many are "green" and most are also just good business sense because they reduce your costs in some way. Pursue these measures first because you really can't know which one between a hard drive maker or disc pressing plant in some other country is *really* more "green". They both use unholy amounts of water and power and deal with metals and plastics.







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