Location is becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of ICT facilities. We've been tracking facilities in North American and Europe which try to leverage geographic features for greener operations. Our latest example includes Apple benefiting from its Nevada (US) site's underground water and low risk of natural disasters and an award-winning Norwegian data center benefiting from on-site hydro and cooling water.
The US ENERGY STAR program looks only at energy efficiency and not other sustainability factors. About twenty set-top boxes (STBs) or cable, IP, or satellite from seven manufacturers came in at less than 65W in the program's Total Energy Consumption (TEC) metric. This is a big improvement from two years ago, when our top twenty cut-off was 100W.
What is a battery? A device to store energy and convert it to electricity on demand? This is an important question as ICT facilities and infrastructure elements increasingly rely on sophisticated battery-based systems such as UPS. Potentially greener alternatives are emerging to chemical batteries, with flywheels appearing to have the most momentum for ITC facilities going into 2013.
Let's start by reviewing the role energy storage devices play in ICT. A 2011 APC white paper lists three applications:
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 added newer rankings for mobile and smart phones, but left the original ones below for those looking to reuse an older unit.
The Bloom Energy Server is a "distributed power generator" that uses fuel cells to convert air and natural gas into electricity. We wrote in 2010 that the 'Bloom Boxes' are "already being used by ICT companies, but not for for mission-critical ICT applications." Now we can report that they are used for applications ranging from television to telecom. Apple and eBay appear to be the most recent ICT customers.
British mobile services provider O2 has produced statistics about the carbon footprint of individual activities such as a phone call and a data download. This came from the company's effort to become the first carrier to independently certify its carbon footprint. Information like this is important to organizations wishing to account for emissions from their cloud use in carbon audits.
Europe has a number of initiatives and conferences focused on the 'C' in "Green ICT'.
TREND is a Network of Excellence on energy-efficient networking funded by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). TREND describes itself as "a new holistic approach to energy-efficient and sustainable networking."
The ECONET (low Energy COnsumption NETworks) project is a 3-year IP project (running from October 2010 to September 2013) is also funded under FP7, addresses Strategic Objective ICT-2009.1.1 The Network of the Future (Euro-NF). "The ECONET project aims at studying and exploiting dynamic adaptive technologies (based on standby and performance scaling capabilities) for wired network devices that allow saving energy when a device (or part of it) is not used…The overall idea is to introduce novel green network-specific paradigms and concepts enabling the reduction of energy requirements of wired network equipment by 50% in the short to mid-term (and by 80% in the long run)."
Conferences covering the topic of "green communications" are plentiful this year. Some have March 2012 submission deadlines.
Excerpts from an address at the International Telecommunications Union's 2011 Green Standards Week sheds light on on Green ICT initiatives within China's communications industry.