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It's Better for the Environment

conveyor belt at the post office

If you enjoy the convenience of shopping online, here's one reason to do more of it. A new study by Carnegie Mellon's Green Design Institute found that e-shopping could mean less impact on the environment.

Specifically, researchers found that e-shopping via resulted in 35 percent less energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions than the traditional retail model. The reason: products on are shipped directly from distribution partners to customers. The products skip the step of going to a warehouse and store before they get to your doorstep.

Adding to the efficiency, there's no transportation required by the customer. Approximately 65 percent of total emissions generated by the traditional retail model stemmed from customer transport to and from retail stores.

"In a study of this nature with numerous variables, we took great care to estimate average case performance using simulations and approximations," said H. Scott Matthews, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon and research director of the Green Design Institute. "We were able to show that in the majority of cases studied, the e-commerce model does perform better than shopping at traditional retail in the areas of carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption."

"Consumers are looking for ways to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, whether that be recycling at home, reducing paper and packaging consumption or purchasing products that have less impact on our natural resources," said Neel Grover, CEO and president of "This study solidifies that online shopping is another avenue they can embrace to help lower their carbon footprint and energy consumption."

A member of Carnegie Mellon's Green Design Institute, introduced the Green Electronics Council's Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT(r)) rating on its site. The rating allows consumers to purchase more environmentally friendly computer desktops, notebooks and monitors. A listing of EPEAT offerings sold through can be found here.

Related Links: Read About the Study  |  |  Environment at Carnegie Mellon

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