16th August 2007 - The Australian Computer Society (ACS), the nation’s peak professional body for the ICT sector, today delivered Australia’s first ICT carbon emissions audit, revealing that ICT use by Australian businesses generated 7.94 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide in 2005, which is the close equivalent to the civil aviation and the metal production Industries.
Responding to the findings, the ACS said the technology industry is in a unique position to demonstrate leadership by reducing its footprint, as well as leading the way in identifying and creating innovative green solutions for other industries and Australian consumers.
The report, conducted by leading technology solutions firm, the Ethan Group, revealed the following key findings:
· ICT usage by Australian businesses represents 2.84% of the emissions attributed to the stationary energy component (energy consumed excluding transportation), and 1.52% of the total national emissions, which totalled 522.2 Mt CO2
· Total estimated emissions from stationary energy combustion are equal to 53.5% of net national emissions.Â
· One of the biggest power consumption demands comes from employeesâ personal workstation equipment, which is generally in an operational state for 12 hours per day, and in many cases is not switched off.
· ICT’s carbon emissions are comparable in size to other industries such as civil aviation, which is estimated to generate 0.97% of total carbon emissions and metal production (mostly iron and steel), which accounts for around 2.3% of total carbon emissions and the cement industry at around 1%.
ACS President Philip Argy, explains, âThere is virtually no product sold on the planet that does not contain technology, or is not produced by some form of technology. However, our reliance on ICT comes at a price â an increasing demand for power and its consequent generation of carbon dioxide emissions. Environmental considerations are set to become an integral part of the professional conduct, practice and ethical considerations that ICT professionals will bring to their organisations. The purpose of the audit was to measure the extent to which commercial use of ICT is contributing to carbon emissions and to explore options for reducing the impact of that contribution.
“The ACS audit reveals that business use of ICT has a sizeable carbon footprint and whilst the percentage may not seem large when compared to overall emissions; it still represents a significant opportunity to contribute to national reduction schemes and is comparable in size to other major industries such as aviation.Â When you factor in individual consumption of ICT products â a calculation which was outside the scope of this report – the level of carbon emissions is far higher,” Mr Argy said.
In response to the auditâs findings, the ACS today launches a Policy Statement for Green ICT, which includes suggestions on initiatives ICT professionals, government, consumers and ICT manufacturers can take to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions attributable to the use of ICT equipment. The key recommendations include the following:
1. Extending the Energy Rating System to ICT equipment for domestic and commercial use â To be run as a joint initiative by the Federal, State and Territory governments, to cover domestic and commercial ICT equipment;
2. Leverage innovative technologies to reduce power consumption and lower carbon dioxide emissions;
3. Purchase carbon offsets to help offset the emissions being produced by ICT equipment used in the office – For a typical Australian ICT SME comprising 5 to 20 employees, this would cost between $144 to $576 per annum.
4. Look at replacing conventional telephone equipment with soft IP phone clients on computer workstations – Look at combining the communications server with existing servers;
5. Examine the feasibility of using virtualisation technology to significantly reduce the number of servers in use.
6. Disable screen savers and implement âsleep modeâ for periods of inactivity for ICT equipment.
Mr Argy said, “The ACS Green ICT Policy includes numerous recommendations for Australian businesses and general ICT consumers to help offset carbon emissions. As a crucial recommendation within the policy, we believe that the industry’s major product makers should adopt an energy star rating system, as this would help consumers make clear and informed decision when purchasing ICT products. We support the Labor Party’s proposal to this effect. Responsible purchasing by consumers is dependent upon transparent labeling and responsible design of technology by the product makers. The industry also needs to become accountable for its waste, establishing methods for responsible disposal of technology.
“Whilst the world’s insatiable appetite for energy-using technology is generating greenhouse gases, ICT is also very much part of the solution as the tool to help reduce emissions, not only within the ICT sector, but for all other sectors of the economy that rely on it.Â Innovation in ICT and advances in technology are streamlining processes, creating more energy efficient equipment, facilitating consolidation and sharing of networks and improving business models. Short term opportunities using technologies such as server consolidation and virtualisation can help stem the continuing growth in back office power consumption and emissions contribution, and business practices such as workstation hibernation can significantly reduce the power consumption from the desktop”, explained Mr Argy.
ACS carbon emission reduction recommendations include:
Workstation usage - saving four hours of workstation/monitor usage per day represents a reduction of approximately 0.37t CO2 emissions per annum per workstation;
Server virtualisation - Each server removed represents a reduction of approximately 3.35t CO2 emissions per annum - assuming a four year life;
Desktop virtualisation – by putting ultra-small, completely secure thin clients on the desktop, and linking the thin clients to their own virtual desktop machines allows businesses to reduce the energy requirements to run their desktop environments. A thin client running to the maximum desktop functionality utilising all peripheral ports consumes up to 15 times less power than a conventional desktop.
Technology upgrade - when upgrading or introducing new technology organisations should discuss energy efficiency with vendors - many vendors have released green technology products;
Automated Power Control – Advanced control systems are now available to remotely ensure equipment is put into sleep mode and then woken up to ensure it is available when required – this can minimise power usage and reduce emissions;
Offset Programs – Carbon offset programmes provide an excellent means by which companies can act to offset their ICT carbon emissions. The ICT carbon footprint per small business employee is approximately 1.74 t of carbon dioxide per annum;
Integrated Telephony - IP Telephony enables a number of new technologies such as tele-working and soft phone capabilities enable employersÂ to re-think the way their employees work and commute to their clients but also removeÂ the need to have aÂ separate power-consuming PABX system;
Optimisation of Resource Use – For example, developing optimisation and automation programs that will allow commercial and domestic users to see the power being consumed by each appliance and that will perform non essential functions outside of peak power consumptions periods. This will not only help reduce the loading on the power grid during peak periods but will achieve considerable power savings by performing tasks during off peak periods.
Mr Argy explains, âThe availability of a ubiquitous, broadband multi-service network will allow businesses to consider alternatives in staffing and operations, such as telecommuting and telecottaging for customer support staff.In the medium to longer term, changes in business practices that cater for remote working and virtual offices will remove the need for one workstation per employee in the office. Continual advancement in low power technology development will allow the overall power demand and therefore carbon emissions to continue to be reduced.
“The ACS encourages ICT professionals and the Federal and State Governments to consider and adopt the measures outlined in the Green ICT Policy. Australian ICT users and developers should also capitalise on the rapidly expanding global market for ICT based solutions to the climate change issue. To assist ICT professionals in being part of a planned reduction in emissions associated with ICT use, the ACS has established a Green ICT Special Interest Group (SIG) for its members and for others interested inÂ ameliorating any adverse impact of ICT on climate change”, Mr Argy commented.
Andrew Rayment, Managing Director of Ethan Group says âIT is a significant contributor to an organisations emissions footprint and it will only increase as we become more reliant on new technologies in the future. Innovative approaches to using IT can become a significant mitigator of those same emissions.Â Corporate Australia should follow the guidelines set by industry leaders such as the ACS and work with IT solutions providers that know, understand and can help implement smart and environmentally sound IT practices.
For a copy of this media release, please click here.
Emily Venardos (02) 9270 0200 or mobile: 0413 743 737
Fleur Brown (02) 9270 0241 or mobile: 0419 270 863
The ACS Policy Statement for Green ICT can be found at: www.acs.org.au/acs_policies/docs/2007/greenictpolicy.pdf
The Audit of Carbon Emissions resulting from ICT usage by Australian Business can be found at: www.acs.org.au/acs_policies/docs/2007/greenictaudit.pdf
About the ACS:
The ACS (Australian Computer Society) is the recognised professional association for those working in Information and Communications Technology, seeking to raise the standing of ICT professionals and represent their views to government, industry and the community. A member of the Australian Council of Professions, the ACS is the guardian of professional ethics and standards in the ICT sector, committed to ensuring the beneficial use of ICT for all Australians. It provides both members and non-members with opportunities for professional education, networking and certification, as well as enabling them to contribute to the development of their profession. Visit www.acs.org.au for more.Â In 2005, the Ethan Group was named the fastest growing company in Australia by BRW, topping a list of 100 businesses.
About the Ethan Group:
Ethan Group is an Australian technology solutions company which works with some of the worldâs leading businesses and government organisations to provide hardware and software, environmental best practice policies and solutions and voice and telecommunications services.Â The company was established in 2002 by Andrew Rayment and Tony Geagea and today employs over 200 people with a recorded annual turnover growth of 760 per cent â success achieved through its proven ability to enable its clients to achieve a competitive advantage by adapting their business to the new converged environment. For more information, please visit www.ethangroup.com.au
About the ACS Foundation:
An initiative of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) the ACS Foundation was established in August 2001 to encourage both private and public sponsorship of IT scholarships, higher education and research projects.
The ACS Foundation receives funding from more than 150 sponsors â including ICT companies, industry associations, Government bodies, individuals and the ACS itself.
Since the ACS Foundationâs inception, it has raised over $9 million in cash and in-kind sponsorship for scholarships and research, awarding more than 600 scholarships to high achievers and people who are disadvantaged in some way. The ACS Foundation has within its charter the ability to make research grants available, which could include research in areas that have been outlined in the ACS Emissions Policy