Clicks and Links and the city of Linkoping have been working hard on piloting the first version of the NiCE ICT Carbon Measurement tool.  This version is simply a process to follow and a spreadsheet to fill in.  Since city administrators are busy, a spreadsheet seemed like the most straightforward approach.

The first step was to find out how many pieces of ICT equipment were in use in Linkoping.  This was quite straightforward as Linkoping have a comprehensive asset register and could identify all their equipment immediately by referring to their CMD database.  The next 2 steps, to find out how long the equipment was on for and how much energy they use has taken much longer.  Firstly there was a bug in Linkoping’s network system managed Symantec which prevented identification of all ICT equipment connected and online.  Luckily Symantec have agreed to fix this bug and will deliver on this at the end of April, hopefully to the benefit of all their clients.  Another tool, EnviroProt can also provide information about the ICT equipment connected to a network at any one time.  However, another possibility is to use ARP tables to identify data exchanges between pieces of equipment.

Then, we found that information about the amount of energy used by different types of ICT equipment is not easily available.  There is no online register which brings all energy consumption data together.  Some ICT companies, such as HP, make the energy data available through their ‘quick specs’ but this is on a model by model basis – a time-consuming effort for an IT manager.  Linkoping use 800 different models of printer so finding energy data for each one is a mammoth task.  Instead, we are using a ‘typical’ energy use measurement for each category of ICT equipment (e.g. standard PC, portable PC, laser printer etc).  Another concern is that the energy data provided by the ICT companies is not necessarily reliable (energy usage of PCs has apparently dropped from 445 watts to 65 watts in just 5 years).

Jonas Wilman at Linkoping has now completed a ‘quick and dirty’ version of the spreadsheet to get an initial impression of the carbon footprint of Linkoping.  He estimated the time usage by using a 7 hour per day x 226 days per working year and multiplying it by the number of PCs, laptops, iPads etc out of the asset register.  This produced an estimated 13,786 hours of energy usage by 12,617 pieces of ICT equipment in 1 year by the city administration of Linkoping (not including the data centre).

The next steps are

  • to find out just how accurate the industry estimations of the ICT energy consumption actually is – by using special plugs which measure wattage directly from the piece of equipment itself.
  • to improve measurement of ‘time in use’ of ICT equipment by using software rather than estimating hours.  Linkoping are producing a shareable tool that captures and analyses data from the ARP tables
  • to categorise users in such a way that actions aimed at reducing emissions are traceable in the measurements
  • to think about how to better present both the capturing of the data and the visualisation of results for different audiences

It is hoped that by 1st June, Linkoping will have a figure which they can fix as their GDC ICT carbon reduction benchmark.  This measurement will then be the target for reduction of 30% over the next 5 years, according to the related Charter commitment.