Unsustainable energy consumption poses a major threat to our environment and if unchecked, could play out in a number of disastrous scenarios, ranging from climate change to resource shortages.
Carbon-neutral, renewable energy sources provide one long-term solution to this problem, but the effort required to construct a clean, renewable power grid suggests that addressing the supply-side of the issue alone is not a quick answer. Managing demand is also necessary. Initial studies have found significant opportunities for improving energy use by analyzing and optimizing the energy required to run social networks.
SI professor and senior associate dean for faculty Thomas Finholt and lecturer Eric Hofer have received a two-year, $299,982 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the use of social networks to help individuals reduce their energy footprint. “EAGER: GreenSC: Characterizing and Modeling Energy Use in Social Computing” will examine how different communication technologies are used in social networks and how energy use accumulates in technical networks that support relationships.