A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University finds that shopping online instead of going to a retail store cuts carbon emissions. The research performed by the university’s Green Design Institute, found that shopping online via uses 35 percent less energy and carbon dioxide emissions than making a traditional trip to the mall for the same item.  Shoppers consume the most energy and create the greatest amount of CO2 emissions traveling to and from their destination, while packaging and last mile delivery to a customer’s home, account for much of the emissions in the online transaction model. Brick and mortar stores typically have items shipped from distributors to regional warehouses and then to individual stores; while a site like usually ships directly from distribution partners to the customer, eliminating a step.

The study used the purchase of a flash drive for the comparison; no word on the the energy efficiency of buying an ill-fitting pair of jeans that need to be returned…