Global Green ICT Update: Europe
Updates from Europe. Click on "Europe" tag above for all news about the region. Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe.
We haven't given much thought lately to calculators, as this function built into most feature phones and all smartphones. German eco-certifier Blue Angel does think about them and has certified 16 models of solar-power calculators from Casio, Citizen, Dieter, Moravia, Staples, and Texas Instruments. Blue Angel cites these models for "use of renewable energies, high level of serviceability, reduced use of contaminant-containing batteries."
Blue Angel also has a standard for Energy-Conscious Data Centers. Six facilities have obtained certification.
UK-based BSI group is hosting the documents for a new standards series - ISO/IEC I 30134 - for data center performance. One standard centers around the well-known PUE metric. Another proposes a renewable energy factor (REF). We inspected the REF document, but found little useful information about what an REF standard might look like.
Apple announced in February 2015 that its two new European data centers would "...will have the lowest environmental impact yet for an Apple data centre." The company explains, " ...the new facilities will run entirely on clean, renewable energy sources from day one...in Athenry, Ireland, Apple will recover land previously used for growing and harvesting non-native trees and restore native trees to Derrydonnell Forest...In Viborg, Denmark, Apple will eliminate the need for additional generators by locating the data centre adjacent to one of Denmark’s largest electrical substations. The facility is also designed to capture excess heat from equipment inside the facility and conduct it into the district heating system to help warm homes in the neighboring community." Wind will be the primary renewable energy source for the facilities, scheduled to be operational in 2017. More: Apple and Green ICT
Norway's Fjord IT is another example of ICT facilities looking to local climate to boost sustainability. The company cites "...the cold and stable climate in Norway, development of a passive cooling solution, hydro-power.." as location-specific advantages. Combined with energy-efficient gear, the company claims this "...allows us to operate with close to zero carbon footprint...and a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) lower than 1.05." Fjord IT's partner Pivotal adds that appreciation for Norway's advantages "...led [Fjord IT CEO Helge] Gallefoss to patent a passive cooling technology that reduces power usage by as much as 50% [and to utilize] Norway’s power grid [which] produces 99% of its energy from hydropower..."
UK sustainable development organization Climate Action moved its email operations to Verne Global's renewable-powered Icelandic data center. The press release quotes a Climate Action executive, "...it is important that we ensure our own activities are as green as they can be. It was an easy choice for us to move our email hosting to Verne Global's facility in Iceland. The move was simple and ensures that all our future communications are powered sustainably, further reducing our carbon footprint." We encourage all sustainability organizations to be as mindful of their email's carbon footprint.
Cardiff University's Center for High Frequency Engineering reports that "...base station power consumption accounts for approximately 200 to 500 GWh per year, per operator in some European countries. In the UK, the mobile industry accounts for around 0.7% of CO2 emissions and each mobile subscriber is responsible for around 55.0 kg of CO2 per year." More about mobile's energy and carbon footprints.
DCO datacenter (Belgium) integrates indirect free air cooling, as-needed LED lighting, and other features to achieve a PUE of 1.11. Two interesting innovations are its "Box in box principle [that] provides the hull of the datacenter. It is used for cooling and the inside boxes are datarooms. This way we need only a minimum of power to move the heated air to the outside" and "The cellar houses a 4 million litre water buffer. This buffer is used to cool during short needs for extra cooling and reduces the usage of chillers with 80%." The facility won several Green ICT awards in 2011 when it opened.
Capgemini's Merlin data center in the UK uses flywheel technology. "The containerised flywheel UPS system and fast-start generators ensure uninterrupted power supply in the event of grid failure...By using flywheel UPS technology,which uses stored kinetic energy to replace the role of batteries, Capgemini has delivered an innovative solution built on recyclable components that fully support its sustainability goals." There are also cooling innovations. "The cooling unit uses primarily fresh air cooling for external temperatures up to 24 degrees centigrade [and the] climate control air optimisation module has “Expert System” software which has the capability to protect itself against all temperature and humidity conditions. The net result is close to 100% fresh air cooling." Finally, there are the data center modules themselves. "Since the modules are factory-built and can be transported to site for installation there is no construction impact at the start. Modules are constructed of 95% recyclable materials which have very low embedded carbon." Capgemini's value proposition to prospective clients: "Merlin offers clients the opportunity to host their data in a sustainable environment with greater power efficiency and with less impact on the environment than comparable facilities. It offers clients the opportunity for their data storage and management to contribute to their environmental targets and carbon footprint reduction." (More about the the green data center value proposition.) The Capgemini Merlin data center won the 2010 DatacenterDynamics EMEA region award for Best Green Data Center.
Green IT Node is an EU co-funded project that "will identify new Role Profiles for Sustainable ICT Functions at European level and develop Training Guidelines to support VET Institutions in developing training courses that are in accordance with these. The aim of the project is to foster employability and prevent skilled staff shortages in the field of Sustainable ICT."
ECO2Clouds is a project founded in 2012 "supported by the FP7 program of the European Commission. The overall goal is the introduction of ecological concerns while developing cloud infrastructures or cloud-based applications…The overall goal of the project is to advance scientific knowledge and technical artifacts, in order to couple the functional and economic advantages of cloud computing with measures aiming at a more careful dealing with the environment." The project is involved in Green ICT events in Karlsruhe (DE) this September and plans to publish around that time.
We've regularly covered GreenQloud, which uses Iceland's location advantages to offer renewables-powered hosting services. Its latest offering is StorageQloud, an elastic cloud storage service, and a companion app called CloudSync. Through the company's Truly Green™ Dashboard, "We calculate the CO2 emissions each user has avoided by using GreenQloud, based on home origin and energy usage." Beta versions of CloudSync are available for Windows and OS X, but not for mobile platforms.
ITU's Green Standards Week (17-21 Sep, Paris, FR) features sessions such as "Greening the ICT Supply Chain" and "Environmental Sustainability for the ICT Sector".
UK's Energy Efficient Computing Special Interest Group (EEC SIG) "will support the TSB's Emerging Technologies & Industries programme by accelerating the development and commercial use of products, processes and services based on EEC technology." The SIG is a partnership between the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Electronics, Sensors, Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network (ESP KTN) and the ICT KTN. See more on the TSB's Green ICT efforts, below.
Belgium's Cluttr was the only Green ICT company selected to present this summer at GigaOM's Structure 2012 LaunchPad, "a competition recognizing emerging startups in the cloud computing industry". The early-stage venture provides software and services to improve data center energy efficiency.
The UK's Technology Strategy Board and its partners will "invest up to £1.25m in feasibility studies to encourage technologies which can reduce the mounting energy burden of computing and communications devices and systems…This collaborative demonstrator competition focuses on the design and development of energy-efficient hardware and software, not only for large-scale systems relying on computing capacity but also for mobile devices and embedded chips." The competition closes on 5 Dec 2012.
The Low Carbon Materials Processing Group at the University of Cambridge tested toner-print removal from paper by employing a variety of lasers. "The results showed that toner-print can be removed effectively without causing significant paper damage, allowing the paper to be reused, without being discarded, shredded or sent to a recycling plant…reusing paper could save an additional 50-80% in carbon emissions over recycling." The next step would be to find a sponsor to build a prototype.
The IEEE's GreenCom'09 conference noted: "The European Commission is estimating that by 2012 the energy consumption in the home for [broadband] fruition will reach 50 TWh, from basically 0 TWh in the year 2000."
Click here for Green ICT in Europe updates from 2011 and earlier.