Vertatique has been covering the issue of 'vampire' devices: e-gear that sucks power at night and other times when we think the gear is 'off'. As devices proliferate in the home and office, this becomes an increasing bigger energy drain, even as manufactures and regulators work to (slowly) reduce vampire consumption in some of them. New devices they say it are zero-draw solutions for one class of vampire devices: those ubiquitous bricks (chargers and adapters) into which we plug our e-gear.
LED-based lighting is touted as 'green' lighting and we have made positive note of its use in e-media facilities and other ICT applications. While it is true that Light-Emitting Diodes produce more lumens per watt that either incandescent or florescent technologies, lamp-to-lamp comparisons fall short when LEDs enable massive new energy consumption. A case in point is digital signage, where a single LED-based outdoor billboard can consume more energy than a typical US home.
We've always taken a broad view of the definition of an ICT facility. More than just data centers, ICT facilities include everything from broadcast studios to telecom network operating centers. Hospitals' network closets, an instance of decentralized ICT, are the focus of an informative white paper from Emerson Power Networks.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports "A group of seven graduate students, from Stanford University and Finland’s Aalto University, created a prototype of a recyclable laptop…the Bloom laptop…is made mostly of materials that can be recycled alongside ordinary household items, like metal, plastic, and glass. Materials like LCD screens and circuit boards, which need to be sent to specialized recycling facilities, can be easily separated in a few steps."
Editors often over simplify a story into a catchy and succinct headline, but having the text on our screen right below it invites us to examine if the body supports the head. Tweeting and retreating these headlines is something else altogether. We know that the more we read/hear/see something, the more credibility our mind attaches to it. The repetition of simplistic headlines detached from their stories can enhance the plausibility of questionable conclusions.
A recent story appearing on many mainstream tech sites reports on a Dutch study that allegedly proves Wi-Fi signals harm trees, but there appears to be reasonable doubt as to its validity. That hasn't stopped endless tweets and retweets, even in the Green ICT community where we should be solidly evidence-based.
"Designed for the Dump" is the theme of The Story of Electronics, a cartoon from the The Story of Stuff Project and the Electronics Takeback Coalition. The video is a breezy but comprehensive tour of the issues inherent in the lifecycles of our e-gear. It would be a good starting point for Green ICT professionals to educate non-technical audiences. Take a look.
Apple is becoming increasingly transparent about the environmental impact of its products. This is providing us with a wealth of data about sustainable use of IT products and e-devices. Apple's analysis of its products' lifecycle CO2e emissions, embodied and use, is a case in point.
We found back in 2010 that the European market for Green ICT products had many local standards with few certified products. That did not appear to best serve sustainability-oriented computer buyers, consumer or enterprise, who needed to make practical purchasing decisions incorporating sustainability. The number of products certified by these organizations appears to have declined in recent years. Only Sweden's TCO Development showed significant growth its certification database.
The Green Grid paper on data center power efficiency metrics covers two key measures of data center infrastructure efficiency: PUE and DCiE (formerly DCE). The basic notion is that the most efficient facility is one in which most of the power goes directly to power the IT equipment, rather than to cooling, etc. But there are complexities.
The in-house data center or ICT space is an organization's obvious opportunity to tackle its ICT resource consumption and toxin emissions, but the real challenge lies beyond our data centers. Let's take a look at the numbers.
One key indicator is the greenhouse gas from global ICT, which is ~1 Gt CO2e annually. We've created some breakdowns, derived from a variety of sources, which are meant to illustrate relative proportions and not exact amounts.