When companies are looking to reduce their CO2 emissions, they focus primarily on energy consumption in the usage phase of IT hardware, which is energy usage at the local level. They address this problem by purchasing expensive, supposedly energy efficient, new hardware. However, companies often completely overlook the CO2 emissions and energy usage that occurs during production and supply chains of the products they purchase. So they ignore the energy usage and CO2 emissions that take place on a global level. For most IT hardware, the CO2 emissions and energy usage that occurs during the production supply chain are considerable.
Manufacturers of IT equipment do not offer this information to customers. DURABILIT has developed the Greener Network Calculator, which shows the amount of CO2 emission and energy that can be reduced by reusing equipment or by purchasing refurbished equipment. Reuse also addresses the problem of raw material scarcity.
The aim of the Greener Network Calculator is to enable companies to determine how much CO2 emission they reduce when they reuse network equipment, or use refurbished equipment rather than purchasing new. This shows that the immediate CO2 emissions related to the purchase and use of a specific switch can be reduced by 30-‐80% over the complete lifecycle of the equipment. In contrast to other Green IT solutions, the use of refurbished equipment actually does immediately reduce CO2 emissions and helps companies to reduce costs at the same time. The main issues that we faced were the fact that manufacturer’s do not provide much information about the CO2 emissions that take place during production and supply chain, as well as the composition of the materials and the power usage. Also, manufacturers do not provide this information even when you request it. This information was gathered from sources such as the data sheets of the manufacturers, an e-‐waste recycling company, and academic studies. Based on all this information, DURABILIT and Prof. Dr. Ir. Harold Krikke of the Open Universiteit Nederland has developed the model for the Greener Network Calculator.
Companies can save costs and reduce CO2 emissions when using refurbished equipment. The quality of the equipment is the same as new. The fact that manufacturers do not support the reuse of equipment is because they consider it as cannibalizing their market. However, by criticizing this practice, they are in effect saying that the quality of their equipment is reduced once it has been used – something which seems odd. Companies that think independently and are not influenced by manufacturers in their decision-making have embraced the use of refurbished equipment as a means of becoming greener and reducing costs.
The impact of the calculator is to make companies aware by how much their total CO2 emissions (including the supply chain of the actual products they use) are reduced. This immediate reduction in CO2 emissions can range between 30 and 80%, based on the type of hardware and the type of energy used. On the business side, the costs are actually dramatically reduced by 20-90% when using refurbished equipment. The environmental impact of this solution is not only a reduction in CO2 emissions, but also the fact that the reuse of IT equipment reduces e-waste by prolonging the life cycle of the equipment. The social impact is also considerable: by reusing equipment, the rare metals that they contained do not need to be mined again (often under very harsh working conditions) and the goods also do not need to be produced again. The issue of raw material scarcity is also addressed.