Sunday, March 18, 2012

Verizon Aims to Reduce Carbon Intensity in Half by 2020

Verizon announced a new environmental sustainability target: the company aims to cut its CO2 intensity in half by 2020, as compared with its 2009 level.

Verizon defines carbon intensity as the amount of energy needed to move data across its network. The goal can be achieved by moving more data with same unit of energy, and cutting the absolute amount of energy used by the company.

"This is the era of big data," said Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam. "Our business continues to grow at a rapid pace, but we're committed to innovating our way to growing responsibly by becoming more energy efficient, even as our business expands."

One focus of Verizon's sustainability efforts has been its vehicle fleet. By the end of 2011, about 7% of the fleet was running on alternative fuel, including CNG. The company aims to have 15% of vehicles on alternative fuels by 2015.

Some other efforts highlighted by the company:

In 2011, Verizon cut approximately 4 million kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to 3.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, by retiring network equipment that was underused or housed in facilities that were closing in Europe and Asia.

An estimated 55 million kilowatt hours annually, or 38,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, were eliminated by installing intelligent energy management systems in 32 data centers in the U.S., thereby allowing 40 percent of air conditioners to be shut off.

Verizon collected more than 1 million no-longer-used wireless phones through its HopeLine phone recycling and reuse program

  • In April 2011, Verizon introduced a carbon intensity metric to quantify its energy efficiency in moving a terabyte of data across its global backbone. The new measurement, which was developed by Verizon's Sustainability Office and tested over the past 12 months, showed an improvement of approximately 15 percent in the company's carbon efficiency, from 2009 to 2010. Verizon is aiming for a further 15 percent improvement in 2011.

    The metric is derived by first combining Verizon's total carbon emissions (in metric tons) from the electricity, building fuels and vehicle fuels used to run the company's business. Then, that total is divided by the number of terabytes of data that the company transports across its network. (One terabyte equals about 300 feature-length movies.) Verizon transported 78.6 million terabytes across its global network in 2010 – an increase of about 16 percent, compared with 2009.