The European Commission has called on member states to use
information and communication technologies to improve energy efficiency, in
an ongoing regional push to combat climate change and aid economic
In addition, the Commission will introduce concrete measures to
encourage the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to reduce
emissions, it said in a statement last week. As part of this, it plans to ask
the ICT sector to set itself targets to become more energy efficient. For
these targets, the Commission will work with the ICT industry to come up with a
common approach to measurement of energy performance and benchmarking
The Commission's statement echoes a speech made by
Viviane Reding, information society and media commissioner, at a Microsoft event in Brussels. "We think ICT is the instrument we
need to get the energy crisis solved," Reding said last week. "This is
how you get high growth out of the connected economy."
ICT can help businesses improve the monitoring and management of their energy
use and, through smart metering, it can help consumers control their power usage
better, the Commission said.
"Targeting energy-efficient and low-carbon growth will help Europe face its
biggest challenges: climate change, energy security and the economic crisis,"
Reding said in the Commission's statement. "ICT have an enormous untapped
potential for saving energy right across the economy."
As part of its effort, the Commission plans to call for working partnerships
between the ICT sector and the other major energy-using sectors, including
construction and transport. These will be dedicated to boosting energy
performance through the use of ICT tools for energy-efficient heating,
ventilation, lighting and design.
At the event last week, Reding said that upcoming European Union telecoms
legislation would also make Europe more green. "New telecommunications rules
will guarantee the seamless market we need, and contribute ICT in the fight
against climate change," she said.
While the carbon footprint of the technology sector itself was growing,
Reding said that she believed the industry would "be capable of taking that in
hand by itself", without the need for legislation. The European Union member
states have pledged to reduce carbon output by 20 percent by 2020, using 1990
figures as a baseline.
Reding last week called on the technology industry to focus more efforts on
research and development into sustainable technology. "How far could we get if
all of our R&D efforts focused on green tech?" said Reding.
Reding added that she "had a dream of
a totally green city" in which traffic
management, energy supply, IT networks, urban infrastructure and waste
management were all connected and "optimized for green use".