We're most of the way through 2012 and Green ICT has been a topic of conversation for years. Best practices have been developed, standards put into place, conferences held monthly around the world. So why do recent surveys of ICT operators suggest that few are paying attention to the full suite of Green ICT possibilities?
PUE - Power Utilization Effectiveness - is a common measure of energy efficiency for ICT facilities. We have often cited it in our articles, but we are mindful that efficiency does not necessarily lead to sustainability. Here are some areas where PUE can fall short.
Our e-gear contains many exotic materials. We've looked a how the demand for some - "conflict minerals" - fuels bloody, long-term warfare. The mining of others pollutes local communities. The rare earth neodymium, used in everything from smartphone speakers to datacenter disk drives, is a case in point.
Belching diesel equipment is not what one imagines when visualizing the Internet and mobile communications. It turns out they play a significant role in ICT's consumption of fossil fuels and emission of GHG.
We've identified almost 17 billion edge devices attached to our global ICT infrastructure. It turns out that the United States has a wide range of recycling rates for the different categories of e-gear. Which is best and which is worst?
We've added newer rankings for mobile and smart phones, but left the original ones below for those looking to reuse an older unit.
The Pacific Island Schools Connectivity, Education, and Solar (PISCES) Project has installed a Solar-in-a-Box kit as a computer lab at a primary school on the island of Udot in the Federated States of Micronesia. The installation illustrates several ways in which Green ICT technologies and practices can deliver ICT to remote areas.
A Microsoft article titled "Reducing Environmental Impact through PC Life Cycle and Configuration Management" explains how the company implements sustainability in purchasing, operating, and disposing of its employee computers.
Microsoft IT has taken a complete PC life cycle management approach to ensure that all employee PCs and peripherals:
We've covered the issue of 'vampire devices": excessive standby power consumption in consumer electronics and other ICT components. As integrated circuits become more power-efficient during operation, their standby power consumption becomes an issue, too. A research group at Japan's Center for Spintronics Integrated Systems and Research Institute of Electrical Communication of Tohoku University together with NEC Corporation (NEC) has developed a standby-power-free large-scale integrated circuit (LSI).
A 2010 version of this post was titled "No One Can Agree on Typical PUE". I wrote, "As more data centers measure their PUE, more and more ask what is typical? The industry does not seem to agree, so a wide range of numbers are out there." I updated the post in 2012 with the latest data, concluding that most data centers still appear to be operating above a PUE of 2.0."
I put the question to Vertatique's global Green ICT community in August 2013 via a tweet: "After years of #GreenICT, is there evidence that most #datacenters now operate below PUE 2.0?". This was one of our most-retweeted, but no one came forward with new evidence. Some replied in the emphatic negative. Hereis the 2012 analysis, which still stands.