Edge computing enables sustainability and climate awareness

Schneider Electric
By Rajesh Thangaraj, Edge Solutions Evangelist
Monday, 01 November, 2021

Data centres consume an estimated 200 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy each year — more than the energy consumption of some countries. They also produce an estimated 2% of all global CO2 emissions1. These figures are both staggering and seemingly despairing — after all, so much of our global infrastructure and modern economy relies upon these goliath server farms to do business.

But, what if there was a way to reduce the reliance on these large scale data centres, while maintaining data and storage integrity, with a more sustainable solution? Well, there is.

Edge computing for ongoing sustainability

The fundamental premise of Edge computing is that you store your data on the edge of your infrastructure, so you aren’t always sending large packets of information across the global network and using bandwidth. Afterall, a lot of the day to day data that is produced may not need to be stored over and again in large scale cloud computing facilities. This difference makes Edge computing more highly optimised for resource efficiency and enables companies to use their existing hardware and infrastructure.

In addition to this, when businesses are looking to add to their Edge computing capabilities, they can more specifically choose products and solutions which align with their sustainability goals. Aims such as utilising the principles of a circular economy, or making sure the products they purchase are not manufactured in a way that adversely affects the environment. This behaviour is better for the environment, as well as being better for the business as well. Researchers at Capgemini have confirmed the strong correlation between sustainability and tangible business benefits2. The research shows more than six in ten organisations have seen an increase in revenue as a result of sustainable operations. Furthermore, nearly 80 per cent of executives pointed to an increase in customer loyalty as a key benefit of their sustainability initiatives.

Edge computing, Green Premium and the circular economy

The fundamental principle of the circular economy is that products should be designed with thought to their whole-of-life consumption. Ideally, products and services should be able to be repaired or upgraded, instead of needing to throw them away and purchase new. Products should also be produced in a way that is better for the environment and society — through regulatory compliance, material content and consideration of their environmental impact. To help us meet these commitments, and increase the sustainability of our customers, Schneider Electric has developed a range of Edge computing products under the Green Premium ecolabel.

A Green Premium product must have:

  • Digitally available, transparent information regarding environmental impact.
  • Minimal use of hazardous substances in, and beyond, compliance with regulations such as RoHS and REACH.
  • A promise of sustainable and environmentally friendly performance.
  • Environmental Disclosures such as a Product Environmental Profiles (PEP ecopassport) to provide robust environmental information.
  • Circularity Profiles to provide guidance on responsible product disposal and recycling along with circular value propositions.

Green Premium allows our customers to meet their own sustainability targets, by:

  • providing a tool to help customers calculate their carbon footprint;
  • anticipating and ensuring full regulatory compliance;
  • making note of concerning substances and chemicals;
  • delivering all appropriate information to develop the eco-design of the solution, and;
  • reducing the end-of-life costs by optimising the recyclability of products.

An example of this is Schneider Electric’s Smart-UPS Online product. The lithium-ion batteries and UPS units are part of Schneider Electric’s Worldwide Takeback Program, where we take the products which have achieved their end-of-life and recycle or reuse their parts. In fact, 85% of our secure power products’ revenue is achieved with Green Premium products today.

By purchasing Edge computing products with the Green Premium eco-mark, you are making a simple choice to support environmental policies and reduce your carbon footprint.

For more information about Schneider Electric's Green Premium visit our website.

  1. www.researchgate.net/publication/319996455_Trends_in_Data_Centre_Energy_Consumption_under_the_European_Code_of_Conduct_for_Data_Centre_Energy_Efficiency
  2. https://which-50.com/sustainable-practices-drive-revenue-growth-and-build-customer-loyalty-capgemini/
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