Thursday, December 30, 2010

Green ICT Handbook

The "Green ICT Handbook: A Guide to Green ICT" from the non-profit UK Global Action Plan provides a useful guideline to measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from computers and networking equipment.
... Carbon Measurement

Measuring carbon is a straightforward process, but many people feel mystified by the concept. Within three steps an organisation can quantify their carbon emissions from ICT and establish a baseline measurement.

Carbon emissions can be calculated from the energy consumption of your ICT department’s infrastructure, which is then useful in planning and prioritising projects. Step 1 – Establish a measurement team. Creating a team to measure the carbon footprint is important.

Asking each team member to carry out the measurement activity relevant to their responsibilities is key to measure correctly and to spark sustainable thinking.

Step 2 – Define a measurement timeline. It sounds basic, but putting a timeline in place will ensure that this activity, which may not be viewed as business critical, is completed in a timely fashion. Step 3 – Undertake and collate measurement activities. The rest of this chapter explains what and how to measure and how to convert energy consumption in to a carbon footprint.

This process will calculate a carbon footprint for the energy consumed by ICT and its supporting equipment. The environmental impact of manufacturing and shipping ICT equipment is a much more complicated issue and more difficult to assess, due to complicated and opaque supply chains. See the Beyond the Energy ICT Consumes section of this handbook.

What to Measure

Take an inventory of all equipment. Below is a guide to the equipment you should look to measure - the list is not exhaustive and should be tailored to your organisation. Desktop end user environment
  • Desktops
  • Laptops
  • Monitors
  • Thin Clients
  • Printers
  • Multi-Functional Devices Telecommunication and networking
  • Routers
  • Wireless devices
  • Boosters Data Centre
  • Servers
  • Storage Drives
  • Any telecoms equipment housed within the data centre
  • Switch gears
  • Cooling, lighting and other facilities
  • Backup power supplies

You should note the total numbers, the make, model, specification and capacity (where appropriate) for each equipment type.

For some equipment types it may not be practical or cost effective to measure actual energy consumption, in which case a theoretical measurement can be used. Ensure that the source of the data is documented for future reference, for example supplier or equipment specification information. Use of theoretical data should be kept to a minimum to improve overall accuracy. When the detailed inventory is complete, the next stage is to measure the energy consumption for each equipment type while in its various states – for example in use, standby and off.

How to measure

Using the inventory, initiate a data collection exercise to capture the required consumption data.

Source any necessary energy meters. There are many types of devices available from sophisticated energy management systems that log electricity consumption over time to a central web console, plug in devices that display the current energy usage of equipment and clamp on meters that can measure the usage without having to unplug critical equipment e.g. servers. Select the most appropriate type of energy meter / monitoring tools for your organisation according to organisation size, your budget and type of ICT equipment.
  • Involve facilities personnel who should be able to provide information on the organisation’s total energy consumption and may have breakdowns by site, floor, department etc.
  • Measure the rate of electricity consumption of equipment in its various modes of operation and calculate how long those types of equipment are in each operational mode during a year. Using this information you can calculate the amount of electricity that will be consumed in a year.
  • When the total electricity consumption has been established, the CO2 it is responsible for can be calculated by multiplying kWh by 0.537 to give kg of CO2 per kWh of energy22.

Please note that this multiplying factor is the 08/09 figure and it will change each year. Please check the Defra guidelines23 for subsequent years.

This exercise will take time to complete, but it is worth doing it as accurately as possible to establish your baseline.

Is Your Data Centre Efficient?

The data centre energy consumption is complex to measure accurately, because a number of different servers are often present and many data centres are housed in multi use buildings without separate data centre energy metering.

The data centre manager must obtain the total baseline consumption for the data centre and then divide it into the various components within the data centre, such as servers, cooling and lighting. If possible, load variations during the day should also be measured to obtain peak load versus average load. An assessment can then be made on where to focus efforts and prioritise areas for improvement.

A useful thing to do to understand the scale of potential benefit is to take the total measured energy consumption and cost it. Then set the bar high and assume (if you are starting from scratch) that you could save up to 50% – what financial saving does that equate to? Bear in mind that some organisations such as BT have committed to 60% savings on ICT energy usage!

The industry has also adopted a number of metrics which may add some value in assessing your position. Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) PUE is used to assess data centre efficiency. It is a ratio that shows how much of the total energy consumed by a data centre is directly used to power the servers and other ICT infrastructure within it – i.e. a PUE of 2 means that for every watt your ICT equipment uses, the infrastructure to support it needs 2 watts. The average data centre has a PUE of 2.524 and best practice PUE has been quoted as 1.325, but whatever the starting point the aim is to continually reduce the PUE through data centre initiatives and energy efficiency improvements. If using PUE to assess data centre efficiency do not lose sight of the ultimate aim by focusing entirely on PUE to the detriment of the overall energy consumption.

Data Centre Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE)

DCiE is the direct ICT equipment power expressed as a percentage of the power consumed by the data centre, which can be shown to be improving over time as it increases towards 100%. DCiE = (ICT Equipment Power / Total Facility Power) x 100% For an average data centre with a PUE of 2.5, the DCiE is 40% and a PUE of 1.3 would mean a DCiE of 77%.

What are the solutions?

Once measurement has taken place and a baseline established, the next steps are prioritising, planning and implementation. This should factor in the time and resources required for implementation of each project, the potential benefits and any existing or future regulations that will need to be met.

Recommended Approach

1. Measure the energy usage of all ICT assets and the associated facilities such as the data centre or machine room 2. Identify the quick wins for your organisation 3. Assess the value of longer term projects for your organisation 4. Develop a Green ICT Strategic Plan

At the end of each project or phase of projects we recommend that you measure the energy, carbon and cost savings achieved so far. By reporting financial savings made to date and projected savings, it will be easier to obtain backing and secure budget for further initiatives to green the ICT in your organisation.

Project Management Templates

Here are two links to management tools for Green ICT strategies which you could use to help manage your Green ICT initiatives. The Cabinet Office has produced the CIO Roadmap for Green ICT: John Lewis Partnership uses an acorn diagram to manage their Green ICT initiatives: ...

From: "Green ICT Handbook: A Guide to Green ICT" from the non-profit UK Global Action Plan, 2009

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