According to the Shift Project 2019 Lean ICT Report the Digital energy consumption has increased by 9% yearly since 2015. "Digital" includes Internet, all our digital devices and the infrastructures needed to support them.
Converted in GHG emissions, given the worldwide electricity mix, this represents around 3.7% of global GHG Emissions. It is already at the level of the airline industry. And the trend is worrying with a projection to double by 2025.
"Digital footprint" comprises several energy consuming focuses:
- Production of devices
- Usage of devices (Electricity consumption for batteries and data consumption relying on electricity consumption too)
- Destruction of obsolete devices
All of them are at the core of green ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) thoughts to decrease our carbon footprint.
Adopt low-carbon best practices in your daily life:
603 kg CO2e
1250 kg CO2e
Adopt low-energy best practices in your daily life:
ElectronicsCrazy is an online electronics marketplace in Singapore.
They deal in ten most popular categories including mobile phones, computers and laptops, cameras, network switches, smart power sockets...
They have a wide range of certified refurbished computers and other refurbished items.
In terms of carbon footprint, Google uses a mixture of renewable energy and carbon offsetting to be carbon neutral. They have also announced to have eliminated their total carbon legacy and their next global sustainability goal is to operate entirely on 24/7 carbon-free electricity at all their data centres by 2030. Sembcorp is providing a whole energy solution with a focus on locally-sourced renewable power to support Google’s operations in Singapore. The deal includes energy generated from close to 500 public housing flats with rooftop solar installations.
Microsoft, which owns the Bing search engine, has promised to become carbon negative by 2030, and efforts are underway to investigate whether this footprint is now higher or lower.
However, those carbon neutrality goals do not take into account the transmission of data from the datacentres to our devices and therefore we still need to pursue frugality in using our digital devices as shown in above solution "Reduce Digital Footprint".
108 millions trees
Gexsi is a purpose-driven search engine and a certified B Corporation. Revenues generated by search requests are used to support worldwide projects and social innovators dedicated to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
As an example, they support projects such as reforestation, infrastructures to fight poverty or plastic removal from the oceans.
They are using BING search partnership services.
For servers and datacentres, as energy consumption is their main carbon footprint, it is important to continuously work on decreasing their energy consumption.
Most important is to:
7450 kWh per year
For servers and datacentres:
- International Energy Agency (IEA) report
On the big picture regarding ICT and datacentres energy consumption:
- nature.com paper
More ideas to reduce energy consumption:
- age of awareness
Schneider Electric provides energy and automation digital solutions & services, with a focus on efficiency and sustainability, for buildings, datacentres, industries and infrastructures in all kind of sectors (IT, healthcare, finance, retail etc.)
They developed EcoStruxure, an IoT-enabled platform for better control, analysis, services and connectivity.
They provide in Singapore relevant sustainable solutions for datacentres:
- Uniflair products as chilled water cooling system
- DCIM solution (Datacentre Infrastructure Management) which gives data analysis tools and energy use data to effectively monitor Datacentres PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness).
Specifically, they can help save energy and time over large infrastructures through agile flexible stacks and IoT-based solutions.
Engie is a global energy company, whose SEA entity works towards low-carbon solutions. They focus on reducing consumption, energy-efficiency, renewables... with the help of smart solutions such as IoT. Engie SEA intervenes all along the value chain, from strategy and engineering, to operations management and outcome assurance.
ENGIE brings knowledge and solutions in Design, Build, Management and Operation of mission-critical data centres that deliver significant gains in energy efficiency, reduction in cost and carbon emissions.
Specifically, they can help save energy and time over large infrastructures through agile flexible stacks and IoT-based solutions. Also, they can deliver services for energy usage optimisation.
Green Koncepts develops smart solutions to save energy and time for buildings, cities, datacentres, offices...
Their DCIM solution (Datacentre Infrastructure Management) provides energy-use data and analysis tools to effectively monitor Datacentres' PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness).
Specifically, they can act over large infrastructures through agile flexible stacks and IoT-based solutions.
With more than 15 years expertise, EcoXplore provides integrated automation, smart meters and IoT products in Singapore.
Their solutions range from Datacentres Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and Energy Management System (EMS) to Building Management System (BMS) and Lighting Control Management System.
Datacentres' main carbon footprint is their energy consumption. After reducing datacentres' energy consumption (see solution above and in green hardwares and suppliers), the second step is to turn to greener energy sources and adapt your organization accordingly.
Indeed, solar energy is unfortunately not a 24x7 hours source, as a result, you may also depend on purchasing energy credits if you want to become carbon neutral.
At least, you may consider shifting recurrent computing tasks to times when solar energy sources are available. See more in the International Energy Agency (IEA) report.
Another way to save energy for datacentres may lie within microgrids to deploy automated distributed systems to save and optimize all energy consumption. More information here.
200 TWh per year
100 billion liters
Set up a Green or Responsible IT team, in charge of implementing the company's sustainable policy / CSR strategy and its sustainable procurement in the IT department.
They should develop a specific sustainable plan for the IT department in collaboration with your Sustainability Manager or your Company Green Team, establish and track KPIs, measure progress and set new targets every year.
It is important that the Green IT Team educate all the IT users on your IT department's sustainability strategy, explaining the main targets, timeline and KPIs.
They should also regularly train all users on Green Best Practices (see above solutions) including Paper & Printing Best Practices if need be (see here) and on how to increase lifespan of IT equipments (and why).
It is possible to perform audits and technology overviews to reduce the IT carbon footprint. Always audit before disassembling hardware or software.
- Lead an asset / hardware audit and see what can be re-used, re-conditioned and what has to be recycled
- Lead another audit by a third-party company to assess your software carbon footprint in terms of design (front-end) and architecture / coding (back-end). Implement necessary actions to reduce its carbon footprint and optimize the solutions you have before launching costly projects.
The « green journey » may feel overwhelming sometimes, but you are not alone.
Our Buddies have tried, succeeded, failed to implement change in their companies. They share their experience so you can learn, take shortcuts, get inspired and ask questions.
Everybody can become a Buddy and give back to the community; if you are keen, get in touch with us.
Ivona is a sustainability consultant, founder of Sustainao, a Singapore-based company that helps businesses in their sustainability journey, from conducting materiality assessments, creating a sustainability strategy, to implementing and improving sustainability reporting and performance.
Ivona has an MBA in CSR-Sustainability and a master’s degree in Environmental Management. She has first worked for Air France Industries and Arkema in their environmental and sustainability departments. After that, she has gained strong experience as a sustainability auditor for KPMG France. She verified non financial information published in the Sustainability Reports of French groups of Media, Agri-food, Transport, Industry sectors and conducted audits in 15 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia.