Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

The challenges of greening ICT


--- Posted by Pierre Chastanet, DG INFSO, Policy Officer ICT for Sustainable Growth, Workshop organiser at the Digital Agenda Assembly

There are all sorts of digital applications that can help us increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. We can deploy energy management systems in buildings. We can use ICT systems to improve logistics and planning, in industry and across entire communities. Teleworking and video-conferencing can save us from having to travel.  But all of these applications come with energy, material and carbon costs of their own.

So in order to make a case for how much energy or carbon emissions ICT could save, we also have to deal with the sector’s growing appetite for energy. We need transparency around the metrics used to calculate the environmental benefits and the costs of ICT to understand what works efficiently today, what does not and where ICT can really help. Efforts to agree on common metrics are now converging.

At the Digital Agenda Assembly workshop n°11, we will be talking about road testing these metrics and methods with ICT companies. Share your ideas with us at the event or online using #daa11energy

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Published in DSM blog


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Teleconferencing sounds like a very good idea.
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Promoting re-use of data processing solutions is a central aspect because physical goods play a lesser and lesser role in ICT. When you reuse computer programs you could reduce the carbon footprint. The optimizations of ICT which make you use less energy are also usually on the software level. So efficient reuse and carbon optimization can be of benefit. The field however is in an early stage of its development, though there are many mass-deployed solutions.