Brussels, 28 September 2010
Digital Agenda: Major ICT companies join European Commission initiative to reduce electricity consumption
Information & communication technology (ICT) equipment and services consume over 8% of electrical power in the EU and produce about 4% of its CO2 emissions. These figures could double by 2020. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) manages voluntary codes of conduct for ICT companies to reverse this trend. Today in Brussels at the "ICT 2010-Digitally Driven" event, 16 more ICT firms have agreed to reduce the electricity consumption of their broadband equipment and data centres. This should reduce their electricity consumption, in many cases by 50%. Although a voluntary measure, 36 of Europe's biggest ICT companies already apply the codes of conduct. The Digital Agenda for Europe adopted by the Commission in May 2010 (IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199, MEMO/10/200) wants to ensure that the ICT sector leads the way on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “The success of these codes of conduct shows industry's recognition that innovation to boost energy efficiency is a commercial, economic and environmental priority. It is a good example of the JRC's behind-the-scenes work to support the Europe 2020 Strategy."
Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: "Implementing these two codes of conduct will significantly reduce the EU's electricity consumption and could save € 4.5 billion per year. I welcome this work towards a more sustainable future."
Code of conduct on broadband equipment
Broadband equipment accounts for around 15% of the ICT sector's overall energy consumption, or about 47 TWh in 2010 in the EU.
10 companies (both telecom operators and manufacturers) have already signed this code of conduct, covering about 25 million broadband lines in the EU (27%). With 10 new companies signing up, the coverage will raise to 65 million in the EU (72%) plus 10 million more in Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
The code of conduct for broadband equipment has existed since 2007 and sets maximum power consumption, (in consumer premises and telecom operators' substations) for many different types of equipment, such as modems, switches, routers and home gateways. Energy savings are achieved through the mandatory use of the best available low energy components while making sure that fast and ultra-fast broadband can be delivered to all European citizens by 2020 under the Digital Agenda for Europe.
Code of conduct on data centres
Data centres account roughly for 18 % of the ICT sector's energy consumption and they are expected to grow faster than any other ICT technology. Across Europe, they consume about 56 TWh of electricity per year. Data centres include all buildings and facilities which contain enterprise servers and related server communication equipment to provide some form of data service.
6 new companies will sign today and join the 26 participants (with 42 data centres) which are currently registered. There are more than 100 endorsers; companies that develop products, solutions and programmes to enable data centre owners and operators to meet the goals of the code of conduct.
This code of conduct, introduced in October 2008, aims to avoid outdated design practices that lead to power consumption inefficiencies. In 2010 it was complemented by a series of best practice recommendations on design, purchase and operation in areas like software, IT architecture and IT infrastructure. For instance, on the efficient management of environmental conditions, by providing cooling exactly where it is needed on the server CPUs and by avoiding overcooling.
The code should also help ensure that data centre operators know the financial, environmental and infrastructural benefits of improving the energy efficiency of their facilities. This is in line with another key objective of the Digital Agenda: ensuring that the ICT sector leads the way on reporting its greenhouse gas emissions, and adopting a common methodology by 2011, opening the way for other energy intensive sectors to follow.
Whilst the Codes of Conduct address the energy efficiency challenge regarding broadband and data centres, the ICT4EE Forum is looking at the overall energy and carbon footprints of the sector. It was established by the ICT industry following the European Commission's 2009 Recommendation to facilitate the transition to an ICT-based low-carbon economy (see IP/09/1498). The Forum is working to develop methodologies that coherently measure the sector's energy and carbon performances and the quantification of the benefits that ICT solutions bring to other sectors such as buildings, transport, and so on.
The codes of conduct provide a platform bringing European stakeholders together to discuss and agree voluntary actions which will improve energy efficiency. In addition to the two already mentioned, three other codes relating to digital TV services, efficiency of external power supplies and AC uninterruptible power systems have been set up.
Managed and produced by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, their key aim is to inform and stimulate the ICT industry to reduce energy consumption in a cost-effective manner without hampering the critical function of the facility or the equipment.
By signing the codes of conduct, the individual companies voluntarily commit themselves to reducing energy consumption by an agreed amount in a pre-defined time scale through the adoption of best practices.
For the codes of conduct and additional information:
GeSI – Global e-Sustainability Initiative:
ICT for Energy Efficiency:
ANNEX: List of companies participating in the Codes of Conduct