Nostalgic about browsing at Blockbuster? Don’t be. Of all the ways to view a film at home, driving to a store to rent a copy consumes by far the most energy. It’s not exactly a Shyamalan twist to learn that gas-guzzling vehicles are bad for the environment. But what if we told you that streaming uses as much juice as getting a flick in the mail, old-school Netflix-style? An hour of streaming equals just over a week of light from a 10-watt LED bulb.
The networks that supply zippy internet don’t run on movie magic—everything you do online has a carbon footprint. The above chart shows where each viewing method draws its power.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 Make It Last issue of Popular Science.