BCS goes green with Carbon Trust

The British Computer Society (BCS) has teamed up with the Carbon Trust to develop a simulation software tool to help organisations understand energy use within data centres.

The tool being developed will address the IT industry's need to manage power consumption and increased carbon emissions.

The project will be financed by the Carbon Trust's Low Carbon Collaboration initiative and Romonet. It will focus on data centres, as they contribute the largest single proportion of energy use and carbon emissions from the IT sector.

Chair of the BCS's carbon footprint working group Bob Harvey said: "Through the BCS Data Centre Specialist Group we identified the need or opportunity of effective measurement of the consumption of electricity."

"For most companies, the data centre is the place to start, and with increasing energy costs and the threat of restricted power output to large data centres, there has never been a better time for businesses to reassess their energy usage."

The industry's current level of consumption is comparable to that of the aviation industry, which is a total of 2 per cent of the world's total carbon emissions, according to research carried out by Gartner in 2007.

The software tool, which was based on the model by the BCS Data Centre specialist group, will deliver outputs allowing operations to manage total costs of ownership, energy efficiency and ultimately carbon emissions on a per service per application basis.

Solutions director at the Carbon Trust Hugh Jones said that it was crucial to combat the IT industry's consumption needs.

"The scale of the problem is worrying. Forecasts based on the current growth of data and associated IT infrastructure translates into a picture of unsustainable power consumption in the long term and power supply capacity issues in the short term," said Jones.

"It is crucial that we make effective tools available to enable companies to identify the right steps to take to reduce energy use and carbon," said Jones.

Harvey said that the BCS and Carbon Trust partnership offered a means to rectify the problem of carbon emissions.

"We're two independent organisations who are not part of the supply or consumer chain seeking to reduce carbon emissions. We very much see this as the beginning of a journey for BCS to perform best practice.

"Carbon can be reduced by effective use of IT. We hope that this and further projects will develop more effective measurements of carbon and therefore reduce it," said Harvey.