Optical/IP Networks

BT’s Green Butterfingers

8:40 AM -- BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) chairman Sir Michael Rake caused a flutter of anxiety at an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) symposium on climate change when he nearly dropped a crystal bowl that was awarded to him by the Lord Mayor of London on behalf of the Queen for BT’s achievements in sustainable development. A collective gasp of horror rose from the audience and Rake rescued the bowl just in time. Phew!

It’s the second time BT has received the Queen’s award for sustainable development. And the operator is now on a mission to reduce its carbon emissions intensity by 80 percent globally by 2020. The operator has already cut emissions in the U.K. by 60 percent between 1996 and 2008.

BT plans to meet the new target through improved energy efficiency, on-site renewable generation, and by buying low-carbon electricity. For example, BT aims to get 25 percent of its U.K. electricity from dedicated wind turbines by 2016. That would make a difference, considering that BT currently uses up 0.7 percent of the U.K.’s electricity supply. (See BT Gets Windy, BT Unveils Wind Power Plans, and BT Goes Green.)

BT is also cutting energy consumption in its new data centers in the 21CN. For example, BT uses DC power instead of converting to AC power, and uses fresh air instead of air conditioning to keep the servers cool. These and other measures have reduced energy consumption in the new data centers by between 30 and 40 percent compared to traditional data centers, according to Chris Tuppen, director of sustainable development at BT.

Donna Young, BT’s head of environment and climate change, said the operator might even consider moving data centers to Scandinavia where renewable energy sources are more readily available, as another option for cutting the company’s emissions.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading

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