ICT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

(A.) Policy and legislation

(A.1) Policy objectives

ICT is currently one of the fastest growing greenhouse gas-emitting and energy management sectors.

At the level of ICT, multiple methodologies are available to assess the environmental impact of ICT itself, but they do not provide a consistent methodological framework for this assessment. A solution to this is the work developed in various European and International standardisation bodies such as ETSI, ITU-T, IEC, ISO and others, around methodologies to assess this environmental impact, currently focused on energy management including energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with the achievement of good consensus. This work is performed in collaboration with industry, standardisation bodies and public authorities. The criteria for measuring the impact of ICT on the environment will be extended to other environmental sectors, like water and raw materials.

A key challenge is achieving transparency around claims relating to the environmental performance of ICT products and services, and setting an effective basis to drive competition.

(A.2) EC perspective and progress report

The Commission is looking at the environmental impact of ICT from various fronts:

(A.3) References
  • COM(2019) 64 The European Green New Deal
  • Regulation (EU) 2019/424 laying down ecodesign requirements for servers and data storage products pursuant to Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and amending Commission Regulation (EU) No 617/2013
  • COM(2015) 614: Closing the loop – An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy
  • COM(2010) 245: A Digital Agenda for Europe,  Key Action 12:
  • Assess whether the ICT sector has developed common measurement methodolob Propose legal measures if appropriate
  • Directive 2005/32/EC on ecodesign of products
  • Recommendation 2013/105/EC: Mobilising Information and Communications Technologies to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy
  • Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC
  • Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on Energy Performance of Buildings
  • Directives 1992/75/EC and 2010/30/EU on Labelling and Information
  • Regulation (EU) No. 347/2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure
  • COM(2009) 7604: Recommendation (9.10.2009) on mobilising Information and Communication Technologies to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy
  • COM(2009) 519 final: Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET Plan)
  • COM(2008) 30 final: 20 20 by 2020, Europe’s climate change opportunity
  • COM(2008) 241: Addressing the challenge of energy efficiency through Information and Communication Technologies
  • Directive 2003/96/EC of the Council on Energy Taxation
  • M/462 Standardisation mandate addressed to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI in the field of ICT to enable efficient energy use in fixed and mobile information and communication networks
  • Directive 2009/125/EC (Ecodesign) plus its Implementing Regulations and Standardisation Requests
  • Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 (Energy Consumption)
  • M/543 Standardisation Request with regard to ecodesign requirements on material efficiency aspects for energy-related products
(B.) Requested actions

Action 1 Definition of Global KPIs for Energy Management of Fixed and Mobile access, and Core networks, as per Mandate M/462.

Action 2 Guidelines for the use of Global KPIs for Data Centres as per Mandate M/462.

Action 3 Definition of Global KPIs for Data Services as per Mandate M/462.

Action 4 Guidelines for the definition of Green Data Services.

Action 5 Definition and guidelines of KPIs for ICT networks as per Mandate M/462.

(C.) Activities and additional information  

(C.1) Related standardisation activities
ESOs

Standardisation request M/462 on efficient energy use within broadband deployment was accepted by the ESOs to provide standards for measurement and monitoring, including the definition of energy-efficient KPIs. This standardisation request is not only limited to networks, but extends as well to data centres and other ICT nodes associated with broadband deployment. It is currently in phase 2. 

Energy and more general resource management in data centres are addressed by a cross-ESO coordination group (Coordination Group Green Data Centres – CG-GDC). This group monitors European and international standardisation for data centre resource management (including energy) and maintains a live executive summary of that activity.

ftp://ftp.cencenelec.eu/EN/EuropeanStandardisation/HotTopics/ICT/GreenDataCentres/GDC_report_summary.pdf

The CEN-CLC-ETSI CG-GDC encourages standardisation activity to support Commission objectives and has recently asked CENELEC to undertake the conversion of DG JRC Best Practice Guidelines for the Code of Conduct for Energy Efficient Data Centres  into a standards-based format linked to the EN 50600 series. 

CENELEC

CLC/TC 215 is responsible for a holistic series of ENs for the design, operation and resource efficiency of data centres (including KPIs) from a system point of view. Several CENELEC technical committees are responsible for energy efficient products deployed in data centres.

CLC/TC 111X ‘Environment’

CEN/CLC/JTC 10 Energy-related products - Material Efficiency Aspects for Ecodesign

ETSI

ETSI’s technical committees for Access, Terminals, Transmission and Multiplexing (TC ATTM), Cable (TC CABLE) and Environmental Engineering (TC EE), collaborate to develop standards in response to EC Mandate M/462 on enabling efficient energy management (efficient use of energy) in fixed and mobile information and communication networks and sites. The resulting standards cover global KPIs for energy management covering ICT sites (e.g. data centres, transmission nodes), mobile broadband access networks, fixed broadband access networks and cable access networks. These global KPIs are to support the deployment of eco-efficient networks and sites and to monitor the energy management of deployed broadband. These new KPIs, which will be used to define green sites and networks for all industrial and commercial users, are outlined in a series of ENs (EN 305 200 Series) based on ETSI’s existing KPIs and TSs for energy efficiency in broadband deployment. The KPIs will provide ICT users with tools to monitor the energy management of networks and sites in full compliance with the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. EN 305 174 Series defines the most efficient engineering of ICT networks and sites in order to support the efficient deployment of these networks and sites. Also available are a range of standards for measurement methods for energy efficiency of fixed and mobile networks.

Recent work includes new ENs for energy efficiency Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for servers and for Radio Access Network equipment, a focus on evaluating energy efficiency of future 5G networks, and work on multiservice street furniture, outlining processes to improve energy efficiency and to ease the deployment of smart new services in digital multiservice cities. EN 305 174-8 on broadband deployment and lifecycle resource management for the end of life of ICT equipment (efficient waste management) was also finalized. This EN will support future standards on field implementation of ICT waste management.

Furthermore, TC-EE is developing standards for the energy and material efficiency of ICT network equipment and this includes the standard for the implementing Regulations of the eco-design directive 2009/125/EC. In this contest, ETSI has already published the standard EN 303 423 “Environmental Engineering (EE); Electrical and electronic household and office equipment; Measurement of networked standby power consumption of Interconnecting equipment; Harmonised Standard covering the measurement method for EC Regulation 1275/2008 amended by EU Regulation 801/2013”

Based on the response to EC Mandate M/462, TC CABLE is extending the EN 305 200 series with a set of ENs standardizing an approach to energy efficiency in communication networks based on the assessment of network design and architecture. Taking into account current practices of the stakeholders represented in TC CABLE, this enables efficient design and operation of communications infrastructures end-to-end from the core network to the end user.

ITU and ETSI

Starting at the level of `good, networks and services´, they have approved methodologies for environmental impact assessment. These will make it possible to assess in a transparent, qualitative, accurate and consistent way the footprint and other aspects of various products and services that are part of everyday digital life, such as email, telephone services, laptops, broadband access. In addition, companies, public bodies and other organisations will be able to assess and report their ICT footprint based on ITU’s “ICT in Organisation”.

ITU and ETSI have also agreed a new standard to measure the energy efficiency of mobile radio access networks (RANs), the wireless networks that connect end-user equipment to the core network.

The standard (Recommendation ITU-T L.1330) is the first to define energy-efficiency metrics and measurement methods for live RANs, providing a common reference to evaluate their performance. Its application will build uniformity in the methodologies employed by such evaluations, in parallel establishing a common basis for the interpretation of the results.

ITU ITU-T SG5 is developing a series of standards aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. In this regard, some of the international standards developed are listed on this site:

https://www.itu.int/net/ITU-T/lists/standards.aspx?Group=5&Domain=28 

ITU-T SG5 is also developing a series of standards aimed at reducing electronic waste and transitioning to a circular economy (ITU-T L.1015, ITU-T L.1020, ITU-T L.1021, ITU-T L.1030, ITU-T L.1031, ITU-T L.1100, ITU-T L.1101, ITU-T L.1102, ITU-T L.Suppl.4, ITU-TL.Suppl.5, ITU-T L.Suppl.20, ITU-T L.Suppl.27, ITU-T L.Suppl.28). Moreover, it is working to set the environmental requirements for 5G. There are four key aspects: Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC); Electromagnetic fields (EMF); Energy feeding and efficiency; and Resistibility. A series of standards on this topic have already been developed (ITU-T L.1220, ITU-T L.1221, ITU-T L.1222 , ITU-T K. Suppl.4, ITU-T K. Suppl.8, ITU-T K. Suppl.9, ITU-T K. Suppl.10, ITU-T K.Suppl.14, ITU-T K.Suppl.16, ITU-T K.Suppl.36).

In addition, ITU-T SG5 also develops standards that aim to assess the sustainability impacts of ICTs and adapt ICT infrastructure to the effects of climate change within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Recommendation ITU-T L.1440 - Methodology for environmental impact assessment of information and communication technologies at city level. The European Commission through CNECTH5 acted as chief editor. For more standards developed by SG5 on related topics, see: https://www.itu.int/ITU-T/recommendations/index_sg.aspx?sg=5 More info: https://itu.int/go/tsg5

ITU is also developing two reports, entitled “Turning digital technology innovation into climate action” and “Frontier technologies to protect the environment & tackle climate change”, to highlight the emerging role of ICTs and digital technologies in accelerating climate actions.

ITU-T Focus Group “Environmental efficiency for artificial intelligence and frontier technologies” (FG-AI4EEE) was created in May 2019 to identify the standardisation gaps related to the environmental performance of AI and other emerging technologies including automation, augmented reality, virtual reality, extended reality, smart manufacturing, industry 5.0, cloud/edge computing, nanotechnology, 5G, among others. The focus group will develop technical reports and technical specifications to address the environmental efficiency, as well as water and energy consumption of emerging technologies. https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/ai4ee/Pages/default.aspx

IEC

IEC TC 111 ‘Environmental standardisation for electrical and electronic products and systems’

IEC TC23 WG9. This WG is responsible for a holistic view of energy efficiency within the scope of TC23.

ISO/IEC JTC 1

ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 39 ‘Sustainability, IT & Data Centres:

is currently developing an International Standard for Server Energy Effectiveness Metric (SEEM);

is working on further data centre KPIs

has recently started standardisation of KPI, which quantifies the energy effectiveness of an “application platform” for an IT service in data centers.

http://www.iso.org/iso/standards_development/technical_committees/list_of_iso_technical_committees/iso_technical_committee.htm?commid=654019

IEEE

IEEE has standardisation activities that contribute to assessing and reducing the environmental impact of ICT such as the electronic product environmental assessment series, energy efficient Ethernet and a new “Green ICT” series of projects.

https://ieeesa.io/rp-envr

IETF

The Energy Management (EMAN) Working Group has produced several specifications for an energy management framework, for power/energy monitoring and configuration. See http://datatracker.ietf.org/wg/eman/documents/ for the details. The framework focuses on energy management for IP-based network equipment (routers, switches, PCs, IP cameras, phones and the like).

A recently published standards track specification (RFC7603) presents the applicability of the EMAN information model in a variety of scenarios with cases and target devices. These use cases are useful for identifying requirements for the framework and MIBs. Further, it describes the relationship of the EMAN framework to other relevant energy monitoring standards and architectures.

https://trac.ietf.org/trac/iab/wiki/Multi-Stake-Holder-Platform#ICTenvironment

ECMA International

“ECMA-328 on determination of Chemical Emission Rates from Electronic Equipment and has been adopted by JTC 1 (ISO/IEC 28360). ECMA Technical Committee TC38 identifies and describes the environmental attributes related to ICT and CE (Consumer Electronics) products. TC38-TG1 specifically covers chemical emissions.

ECMA-74, the primary acoustic standard developed by ECMA Technical Committee TC26, defines ITTE and ICT product categories for noise measurements and specifies operating and mounting conditions for each product category. The methods and transition guidelines for the EU Regulation 617/2013 implementing the Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive 2009/125/EC include ECMA-74 and ECMA-109 for acoustic noise and ECMA-383 (EN Journal C110/113 11.04.2014, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:JOC_2014_110_R_0005&from=FR).”

Energy saving measures 

CENELEC

Other ongoing work includes EN50523:2009 Household appliances interworking.

ISO

Energy model terminology is specified in:

ISO/IEC CD 13273 (Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources)

ISO/DTR 16344 (Common terms, definitions and symbols for the overall energy performance rating and certification of buildings)

ISO/CD 16346 (Assessment of overall energy performance of buildings)

ISO/DIS 12655 (Presentation of real energy use of buildings)

ISO/CD 16343 (Methods for expressing energy performance and for energy certification of buildings)

ISO 50001:2011 (Energy management systems — Requirements with guidance for use).

ISO/TC 257 General technical rules for determination of energy savings in renovation projects, industrial enterprises and regions` is currently working on a standard on “energy efficiency and savings calculation for countries, regions and cities” (ISO/CD 17742)

ITU-T

Report “Intelligent sustainable buildings for smart sustainable cities”, which provides technical guidance on environmentally-conscious design, maintenance, repair and operating principles and best practices from construction through to lifetime use and decommissioning http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/ssc/Documents/website/web-fg-ssc-0136-r6-smart-buildings.docx and other reports from the FG-SSC: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/ssc/Pages/default.aspx

Data centers 

CEN/CENELEC/ETSI

Coordination Group Green Data Centres

CENELEC

CLC/TC 215 ‘Electrotechnical aspects of telecommunication equipment’ is revising the EN 50600 series of standards ‘Information technology - Data centre facilities and infrastructures’. The first package of three ENs has been published in 2019 with further projects at early revision stages. In addition, a Technical Specification for the Data Centre Maturity Model is being developed. Furthermore, CLC/TC 215 is currently working on additional KPIs standards for energy reuse factor, cooling efficiency, water usage and carbon usage effectiveness.

ETSI

TC ATTM has developed Global KPIs for Energy Management of Data Centres.

ETSI’s industrial specification group (ISG) operational energy efficiency for users (OEU) gathers ICT users from the whole industry (all sectors, e.g. aircraft factories, banks, insurances, energy providers) and communities (e.g. European metropolises) and issues position papers and referential specifications on global KPIs and implementation sustainable standardisation. These position papers are issued to support the development of needed standards by standardisation technical committees.

ISO/IEC JTC 1

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 39 ‘Sustainability,  IT & Data Centres’ Working Group 1 deals with resource-efficient data centres, including the following tasks:

Development of a data centre resource efficiency taxonomy, vocabulary and maturity model

Development of a holistic suite of metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) for data centres

Development of guidance for resource efficient data centres

Development of an energy management system standard specifically tailored for data centres

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 39 Working Group 3 deals with the design and operation of sustainable data centre facilities and infrastructures.

https://www.iso.org/committee/654019.html 

The ongoing standardisation activities by CEN/CENELEC/ETSI on data centres and other ICT nodes may be referenced in possible future legislation.

Other activities related to standardisation
European Commission

With the support of ICT companies, concluding the piloting of various methodologies for goods, networks, services & organisations. Elements such as compatibility and the workability of different standards have been assessed with a positive outcome regarding these two elements. The results can serve as an example, for ITU & ETSI in their common work to further align their methodologies for “goods, networks and services”.

Cluster Collaboration FP7-SMARTCITIES-2013

Objective ICT-2013.6.2.

Data Centres in an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly Internet define common KPIs and ratios (metrics) and methodology for measuring them, to characterize the energy & environmental & economic behaviour of data centres. They disseminate the results and create a proper bidirectional communication channel between the Commission, the standardisation bodies and the cluster, to facilitate information sharing and to push a relevant shortlist of KPIs.

H2020 CITYKEYS

H2020 support action which coordinates projects in several cities piloting the L.Cities methodology (Recommendation ITU-T L.1440). Results of these pilots may provide feedback to improve the standard. The project piloted the L.Cities methodology (Recommendation ITU-T L.1440) in Tampere and Rotterdam. Results of these pilots can provide feedback to improve the standard.  http://www.citykeys-project.eu/ 

SEMANCO

For the first time developing a Semantic Energy Information Framework (SEIF) to model the energy-related knowledge planners and decision makers need.

eeSemantics

Stakeholder group on Energy Efficient Buildings Data Models. Building on the standards promoted by Building Smart Alliance.

Working group on energy consumption

In the area of smart appliances (white goods, HVAC systems, lighting, etc.) a working group has been established bringing together energy consuming and producing products (EupP) manufacturers and stakeholders with the objective of creating a roadmap towards agreed solutions for interoperability. The focus is on communication with smart appliances at the information level in smart homes. The long-term perspective is M2M solutions in the context of IoT.

European Commission (GROW)

The guidebook “Stimulating industrial innovation in the construction sector through the smart use of ICT: connecting SMEs in digital value chains” (2012)

provides a market analysis of the construction industry in terms of the current and foresight integration of ICT and eBusiness solutions and systems;

develops a framework for digital value networks in the construction sector. https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/digital-economy/ebsn_en

H2020 ICTfootprint.eu

This support action is the European platform promoting the adoption of carbon footprint methodologies in the ICT sector. Among other activities, it has mapped all standards related to ICT energy & environmental efficiency (EN, ETSI, IEC, ITU, GHG, etc.).

https://ictfootprint.eu/

JRC

JRC - Best Environmental Management Practice

In September 2020 a document on Best Environmental Management Practice (BEMPs) for the Telecommunications and ICT services sector was published, with references to various standards. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/best-environmental-management-practice-telecommunications-and-ict-services-sector

EURECA

EURECA project

The “Data Center EURECA project” provides valuable information on “resource efficient procurement” of data centers. https://www.dceureca.eu/

The impact will strongly depend on the uptake of these methodologies and associated regulation, if defined. Once this point is clarified the progress could be measured in, for instance, the number of companies reporting their footprint calculated using these methodologies.