The study concludes that existing methodologies for measuring the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy footprint of ICT developed by various standardization organizations are suitable for being integrated into concrete environmental policy measures. Applied to mandatory reporting of electricity consumption, the benefits outweigh the cost when applied to Data Centers and Telecommunication networks where there exists a lack of environmental policy measures and a lack of publicly available data despite their footprint growing by 45% by 2020 in EU-27.

The objective of this study was to identify the most promising options for integrating the methodologies that are applied for measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy footprint of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), into concrete environmental policy measures and to perform a quantitative analysis and an assessment of future development for the energy consumption and GHG emissions of the ICT sector in Europe. Furthermore, the study performed a cost-benefit analysis for selected policy options in order to analysis benefits and risks for enterprises implementing these measures.

The study concludes that existing methodologies developed by various standardization organizations and other initiatives are suitable for being integrated into the policy measures addressing impact of ICT and there is therefore, no need to develop more methodologies.

Regarding data centres and telecommunication networks, despite their total electricity consumption in EU-27 is forecasted to grow from 2.6% in 2010 to 3.8 % in 2020, there exists a lack of environmental policy measures and a lack of publicly available data.

For large enterprises, both the costs and benefits of implementing a mandatory legislation on monitoring and reporting of electricity consumption in data centres and telecommunication networks will be low while for small data centres cost, expected to be proportionally higher, is expected to be outweighed by the benefits.

Background:
Several international standardisation organisations and industry bodies have established a variety of methodologies to measure and quantify the sector's footprint. However, these were, for the most part, not comparable since they are based on different premises that are little known outside these organisations. That is why, 5 years ago, the European Commission published a Recommendation on mobilising ICT to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy calling on the ICT industry to develop a framework to measure its energy and carbon performance and adopt common methodologies and since then has established various initiatives in facilitating the implementation of the above recommendations, notably the development of standards for assessing the environmental impact of ICT Goods, Networks, Services, Organizations, Projects and the piloting of most of them.
Assessing whether the ICT sector has adopted common measurement methodologies for the sector's own energy performance and carbon emissions is one of the targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581  MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200 ).

Other links

Digital Agenda: global tech sector measures its carbon footprint

Report on "Pilot Testing on Methodologies for Energy Consumption and Carbon Footprint of the ICT-sector"

Recommendation on mobilising ICT to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy

What the Digital Agenda does on environment

 

 

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