18 - Improving NRENs' environmental impact through eCO2meter

Vassiliki Giannikopoulou, Constantinos Vassilakis (GRnet), Andrew Mackarel (HEAnet), Albert Hankel (SURFnet)

Rising energy consumption of the networking equipment that supports or accesses the Internet will be one of the main challenges that NRENs will have to address to promote a sustainable environment. The amount of data transported over our networks will continue to rise and energy consumption will rise with it. As the cloud and mobile devices become more important in our daily lives, the mobile, access and core networks required to support these services do too. Where energy consumption of networks currently is not regarded as a high priority, this will change in the near future in a business-as-usual scenario due to these trends related to massive increase in network activities. Similar to datacentres, lowering energy consumption is not only good for the environment, but it will make financial sense as well.
Adoption of energy efficient practices in setup, management, support and decommissioning our networks combined with the use of ICT technology to measure the success of reducing of the energy consumption in various sectors is thus considered crucial for the future of networks. In order to progress towards this direction and given the lack of robust policies to address climate change – as stated in the GeSI's SMARTer2020 report [1] – National Research and Educational Networks (NRENs) can provide specific guidance to policy makers based on the conduction of detailed national studies of the GHG abatement potential in a set of countries.
Based on this fact, the “GÉANT Environmental Green team” has undertaken the initiative for the design and development of an online tool for the collection of data calculating the yearly energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of NRENs. In this paper, a description of the characteristics of the online tool as well as the advantages envisaged for the environmental impact of the research and educational community will be provided in detail.
The main objectives for the development of this tool include the creation of an international database with energy consumption and GHG emissions data in NRENs. This will cover a wide geographical area, with the provision of statistics demonstrating the energy consumption of the IT equipment in various networks and associated computing infrastructures’ parts. The tool allows network managers to deduce useful conclusions regarding the more energy-hungry parts of the NRENs infrastructure. In addition, it can be used to help measure the environmental impact when applying energy efficiency techniques (e.g. energy efficiency achieved through virtualization techniques, reduction in energy consumption based on behavioural analytics approaches).
The design of the online tool is based on the international widely used ISO 14064 standard for reporting GHG emissions. An adaptation of this standard fitted for use for NRENs was developed in the GN3 programme and this formed the basis on which the tool was developed. For NRENs, GHG emissions can be consolidated into four categories, which are: the office, the data centres, the network itself and personnel travels (incl. commuting). Each category is measured using a predefined structure. Office emissions are derived from determining the electricity usage of the office where the NREN houses its staff (lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation, lifts, security etc). For the network equipment, energy consumption values result from given device specifications or from real time measurements. In the data centres, the total energy consumption of the IT equipment is measured along with the energy consumption caused by the supportive infrastructure. In the latter category, GHG emissions result from personnel’s daily transportation and from travels on mission as part of one’s duties to the NREN.
Advanced functionalities are available as options of the online audit tool, such as the automatic creation of the final reports based on the input provided (these reports can be used for verification by an external body – this is a requirement to report an official ISO 14064 compliant report). automatic estimation of data based on predefined values (e.g. CO2 emission factors per country, tons of emissions per mile in international flights), provision of advanced statistics with useful (longitudinal) comparisons based on a diverse set of criteria (e.g. geographical area, energy consumption per sector of the NREN’s infrastructure, GHG emissions per number of PoPs) and comparisons with other NRENs.

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