Sustainability in Communications Technology (CT) equipment, infrastructures and operations, including telecom, broadcast, & networking

New Energy Standards for Set-Top Boxes

Set-top boxes (STBs), many with embedded DVRs, have become fixtures in American households. These devices, required for many digital televisions (DTV) services, and are rented from cable, satellite, and telephone companies or purchased from companies like Apple (Apple TV) and Google (ChromeCast). The proliferation of electronic devices have been frustrating household energy-saving measures and STBs, even when not in direct use, are no exception. A December 2013 agreement should result in more energy-efficient STBs.

ICT, Energy, and Japan's Earthquake/Tsunami

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.

Greenest Telecom Providers

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.

Non-Chemical Batteries Emerge for ICT Facilities and Infrastructure

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:

Diesel Generators: ICT's Dirty Component

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.

Carbon Footprint of Mobile Services

British mobile services provider O2 has produced statistics[1] 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[2].

Green Communications in Europe

Europe has a number of initiatives and conferences focused on the 'C' in "Green ICT'.

TREND logoTREND 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."

ECOnet logoThe 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)."

Call for Papers - Green Communications

Conferences covering the topic of "green communications" are plentiful this year. Some have March 2012 submission deadlines.

Greener Telecom Part of China's Five-Year Plan

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.

Canada's Green Network Has Asian Node

I wrote of the launch of Canada's GreenStar Network over two years ago. The announcement of an Asian node late last year in this "zero-carbon" network is a measure of the project's progress since then.

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