Microsoft: Internet Explorer is more energy efficient than other browsers

Internet Explorer Acording to a new Microsoft-sponsored study by the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, Internet Explorer consumes less wattage than Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. The study discovered some pretty miniscule changes between each browser when it came to situations like “Average, Top 10 Websites” and “Fishbowl Benchmarks.” However, the introduction of Flash into the test showed a fairly substantial change between browser power consumption, with Internet Explorer consuming approximately 18.6 percent less wattage than Google Chrome.

These aren’t massive differences, but Microsoft is making a point of just how much of a difference a small percentage can make by releasing statements regarding the findings. According to the company, the energy saved by using Internet Explorer is enough to power 10,000 traditional homes in the United States for approximately one year. Microsoft also stated that the reduction in carbon is comparable to growing 2.2 million trees for 10 years. It isn’t clear exactly why browsers consume different energy amounts, but PCWorld explains that it may be due to the “number of CPU cycles consumed over time.”


Another interesting finding in the study concerns HTML5-based websites. According to the numbers posted across all three browsers, HTML5 websites caused the browsers to consume considerably more power than the basic, top ten websites that were tested. We weren’t given a list of what Fraunhofer says are the Web’s top ten websites, or how it decided upon what websites should be placed there. 

“Testing of two HTML5 websites (one benchmark, one video) and one Flash video found that both appear to increase power draw significantly more than the top ten websites tested,” the study said. “Most notably, the HTML5 benchmark test condition more than doubled the notebook power draw for all computers and browsers tested, while desktop power draw increased by approximately 50 percent.”

The company isn’t prepared to point fingers at HTML5 as a potential power consumer and it doesn’t yet have enough solid evidence to suggest that it is drawing more power all on its own. It has, however, sparked interest from Fraunhofer as a potential study subject, and the company stated that “more testing was needed” to provide a suitable answer.

Photo via Fraunhofer

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