The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 and its tsunami had a huge impact on the country's ICT infrastructure, much of which is still being felt by businesses and consumers. Here is an update on the information and insights we have collected about data centers, communications networks, e-devices, and other ICT topics.
Global consulting company Accenture announced in March 2013 that it "…has been awarded a contract to create the strategic plan to help develop the University of Aizu Revitalization Center. The plan includes construction of a technology lab on the university campus as well as support for projects focused on rebuilding Fukushima as a technology leader. Accenture’s plan calls for the lab design to begin this year, with construction expected to be completed in the spring of 2015. When completed, the lab will feature a next generation data center, an efficient, high-performance center that will consume about 40 percent less electricity than traditional data centers." Telecom Asia notes that "The Revitalization Center was established to aid recovery of the area following the [earthquake]." A September release from Accenture announces that the company has been awarded a contract work on the design the ICT laboratory, itself.
Updates from Asia-Pacific. Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe. Click on 'Asia-Pac' tag above for all news about the region. (Information about the ICT implications of Japan's earthquake and tsunami have been moved to its own post.)
Sustainability in telecommunications equipment, infrastructures and operations is a crucial component of Green ICT. ITU Telecom World 2013 is happening in Bangkok, Thailand, during 19-22 November. The conference program seems to be heavily promoting the expansion of global telecom, but I could find nothing focusing on minimizing that expansion's resources/toxins footprint. Post a comment or send a tweet if you know of a session of interest.
Supercomputer manufacturers have always vied to build the most powerful machine. Now, they routinely increase energy efficiency, as well. The most recent addition to this ongoing article looks at the current top performer, China's Tianhe-2.
Upcoming Green ICT conferences and workshops around the world. We just added a 2014 event in Sweden. We have also included links to past conferences to aid your search for Green ICT materials.
Quiz: Which region has the most Green ICT conferences?
Most Green ICT focuses on hardware. That make sense, because hardware lifecycles encompass everything from environmentally responsible sourcing of its raw materials through energy efficiency of its use to sustainable disposal at its end-of-life. Special utility software such as desktop power-saving plays a central role in Green ICT, but less attention has been given to the application and system software in the gear, itself. Now, projects are looking at how to create more sustainable software.
Electronic media infrastructures and gear are important components of global ICT as movies, television, music, and books all go digital. This post offers a global sampling of sustainability in e-media; see much more by clicking on the "Green media" tag, above.
We advocate reuse of ICT products whenever possible. Reuse often requires refurbishing, a task performed by enterprises ranging from large charities like Computer Aid International to specialty business. The demise of the CRT in broadcasting has lead to the closure on one such business, Hawk-Eye Picture Tube Manufacturing of Des Moines (USA), the USA's last independent CRT rebuilder. TV Technology reports that "Hawk-eye has been known to the broadcast crowd for several decades, providing a budget-friendly alternative to factory replacement tubes for [broadcast monitors]…At one time, the United States boasted hundreds of CRT rebuilding operations. They existed both in the big cities and in small towns, filling an important niche…Typically, a CRT could be rebuilt and sold for one-half to two-thirds of the cost of an all-new tube." CRTs contain many toxins such as lead and other heavy metals and it appears most of CRTs obsoleted by the conversion to digital broadcast were not properly recycled. More: DTV & Green ICT, CRTs & Green ICT
A number of sustainability rankings in the US and Europe let us take a look at how telecom providers perform compared to each other and to broader tech sectors. Sprint-Nextel is best in the United States. Sprint's take-back program was ranked tops in the US in 2012 and was the only carrier in the top quartile of Greenpeace's 2013 Cool IT Leaderboard. France Telecom, KPN and Vodafone have received consistently good marks with global rankings.
Most Green ICT attention focuses on the data center. There is growing evidence that data centers represent a minority of total ICT energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Most ICT gear - core facilities, communications infrastructures, and edge devices - runs on DC power. Converting AC to DC within a building is inefficient, on-site renewable power generation is usually DC to begin with, and super-efficient LED lighting is also DC. So DC power distribution has been a attractive option, but there have been vigorous arguments for and against. Recent events suggest the tide is turning in favor of DC distribution, although skeptics continue to press their case. The growing use of solar-generated electricity might be providing the latest boost DC.
Image courtesy IEEE Spectrum