Global Green ICT Update: Europe Archives

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IT vendor Faronics released a survey which "revealed that 40 percent of UK organisations do not have any green IT policies in place, with 48 percent blaming this on the time and effort required to develop, implement and enforce the strategies. Only 27 percent of UK organisations consider themselves to be a ‘green’ organisation in terms of IT efficiency…just 27 percent of UK organisations consider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and reputation to be the primary reason for enforcing a green IT policy." Over 48% cited "cost savings" as "the primary reason [for] for a green IT policy", only 18% cited "environmental concerns"

A "circular economy" report on UK resource security from Green Alliance delivers a message for all countries. "…the majority of insecure metals being used in mobile phones, televisions and computers are being disposed as waste, despite UK recycling policy, and in the face of rising global competition for their supply…A number of metals including lithium for computer batteries, indium for LCD televisions and palladium for mobile phones are now considered ‘insecure’ by international experts…Only a fifth of the materials entering the UK economy are from recycled sources, and Britain’s dependency on imported materials has increased significantly in recent years." The think tank calls for "Dramatically raising recycling rates for metals, currently as low as one per cent for some rare earths, through a recovery reward…and incentives for better product design and material substitution."

UK's Fourth Annual Efficient ICT, Greener Government Conference was held on 14 September. The program looks informative, but the conference has not posted presentation material.

The International Telecommunications Union held ITU Green Standards Week on 5-9 September in Rome, Italy. A day-long program was "Methodologies for Assessing the Environmental Impact of ICT". Click here to see the presentations.

BusinessGreen reports,"Linking bonuses to a system monitoring 16 standards is one method that has enabled Bill Thomas, head of sustainability at [UK bank] HSBC's technology and services (HTS) division, to take significant steps towards meeting four-year environmental targets…During 2010…Electricity use decreased 3.8 per cent, almost half the eight per cent target, and CO2 emissions dropped 3.6 per cent against a six per cent goal for 2014…'If we build a new data centre and add sustainability on at the end of the build, it can't be changed,' says Thomas. 'But if we get the guy that's building it to do it, it works from the beginning.'"

French-language resource: Green IT - Gérez la consommation d'énergie de vos systèmes informatiques, by Olivier Philippot.

Inforworld reports, "Standard Bank was set to relocate…but faced a curious dilemma: The new building's air conditioning system wasn't designed to accommodate the number of employees moving into the space…Enter Standard Bank IT architects Joel King and Paul Cotgrove, who came up with a clever, IT-oriented approach to beating the office heat: replacing PCs with low-power virtual clients…The [VMware] VDI solution certainly nipped the heating problem in the bud, saving the bank more than $380,000 (250,000 British pounds) on a new AC system. As an added benefit, the company saw energy consumption drop by 312,539 kWH per year, which translated to $50,000 in savings…the bank's PCs had consumed 150 watts each while the thin clients ran at about 15 watts per unit. "The data center does experience some increase in demand, but overall, our savings are far more than we thought. It's also easier to manage and control energy consumption at the data center. Overall, I think we have experienced a 30 to 40 percent savings," said King."

Reuters: "Amsterdam is looking to use its smart city platform to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2025, a feat that would place it ahead of many other cities in the Netherlands and Europe and, perhaps, attract an increasingly sustainability-minded population." Amsterdam's Smart City site.

French telecom giant Alcatel-Lucent says of its new lightRadio™ mobile/broadband infrastructure products: "lightRadio reduces energy consumption of mobile networks by up to 50% over current radio access network equipment. (As a point of reference, Bell Labs research estimates that basestations globally emit roughly 18,000,000 metric tons of CO2 per year)." lightRadio uses chip technology from Freescale. (India company VNL had previously announced energy efficient mobile base stations that are also solar-powered.)


French start-up Hedera Technology offers "open source" servers. The company touts the energy, CO2e, and e-waste benefits of its products, but, most intriguing is the claim that "Designed to be produced from basic materials, Microclusters are easily manufactured. All the components can be made by small industrial structures, present everywhere around the world, even in remote areas." We will be following the company to see if they succeed in licensing production in areas of the globe not traditionally associated with server manufacturing.

Cloud computing is considered a Green ICT tactic because it allows granular scalability and demand response and because computing services can be located in very low PUE mega-data centers. The New York Times reports, "cloud-based breakthroughs face a formidable obstacle in Europe, however: strict privacy laws that place rigid limits on the movement of information beyond the borders of the 27-country European Union…Europe is expected to remain a relatively modest user of cloud services, accounting for...about 26 percent of the global total… even though the bloc’s economy is larger than that of the United States."

German software giant SAP announced continued progress toward its goal "to reduce its total carbon emissions to the year-2000 emissions level". Key is "significant progress in improving energy efficiencies in data centers through the use of data center design, virtualization technology and efficient hardware. The company’s largest data centers have been certified as “energy efficient” by the German standards organization TÜV Rheinland."

The European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics' October 2009 issue of ERCIM News has a Green ICT theme. It contains articles on energy-efficient networking and storage, data center operations, and other Green ICT topics.

makeITfair describes itself as "a European project focusing on the electronics industry, especially on consumer electronics like mobile phones, laptops and MP3 players. We want to let young people across Europe know about the labour abuses and environmental problems that are going on right now around the world...And we want young people to get active to improve the situation." Good Electronics is a Netherlands-based network whose participants track a set of 'Common Demands' that "cover the overall production cycle of electronic equipment, from extractives to production, to e-waste and recycling".

CNET reports "For those who believe the European Union is more green than the U.S., here's a statistic that may shock. For all its talk of a green economy, the EU as a whole only spent the equivalent of 0.2 percent of its GDP on green tech investment, according to UNEP statistics." (See right.) By comparison, the US "…spent the equivalent of 0.7 percent of its GDP on green tech investment…" Both are well behind world leaders China and Korea.

Grüne IT is a recently-launched Greman language blog about Green ICT. It includes recommendations of Green ICTers who tweet in German, French, and English.

German regions participating in the 100% EE program pledge to achieve 100% renewable energy for homes, businesses, and government agencies in a two phases culminating in 2020 and 2030. (Green ICTer @ecologee tells me its home of Ulm, birthplace of Einstein, is a participant in this ambitious program.) Availability of renewable energy has made locations from Oregon to Iceland attractive to green data centers. We'll watch with interest to see if 100% EE regions prove similarly attractive.


I'm going to be following GREENSOFT with interest. It is a German project to apply Green ICT principles to "software products, software development processes and their underlying software process models." Not the same as the usual meaning of 'green software', which is software for green apps.

The first community-focused Green ICT site of which we are aware is GREEN ADDICT, sponsored by the Bristol (UK) City Council.

Russian IT company Sibers now promotes Green IT, but apparently only to its German market. It's English-language site appears silent on the topic; readers fluent in Russian can comment on its Russian site.