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Verizon Aims to Cut Carbon Intensity by Half by 2020

Verizon announced yesterday that it will cut its CO2 intensity in half by 2020, using 2009 as a baseline.

The company made the announcement as it released its first combined financial and corporate responsibility report, which revealed that Verizon reduced its carbon intensity by 30 percent from 2009 to 2011. This means the company needs another 20 percentage point decrease to reach its 2020 goal.

Environmental Leader will review the report in detail soon.

Verizon’s carbon efficiency metric, unveiled in 2011, divides the company’s carbon emissions in metric tons by the amount of data that it transports, in terabytes. The carbon emissions used in the metric include electricity, building fuels and vehicle fuels.

The company says this metric allows it to accurately quantify the impact of all its environmental initiatives for the first time. Tests using the metric showed a 15 percent improvement in the company’s carbon efficiency from 2009 to 2010.

Last year the company announced a goal of increasing its carbon efficiency by 15 percent from 2010 to 2011, and Verizon says it achieved this aim, with a reduction of just under 17 percent.

Also in 2011, the company announced that it had implemented Polargy’s PolarPlex containment system across nearly 1 million square feet of data centers, achieving a 7.7 percent improvement in energy efficiency.

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One thought on “Verizon Aims to Cut Carbon Intensity by Half by 2020

  1. I am a FIOS customer of Verizon, and they installed a backup box unit in my house that draws a continuous 20 watts. 24/7/365. It does not power down when the battery is charged nor when there is no call for service. Just a constant 20 watts. That costs each customer about $20 per year. Not a lot, but a good lunch.

    As of the end of 2010 there were 4.1 million FIOS customers (per Verizon’s annual report). Presumably there are many more now. Assuming there are at least 5 million, that means a constant 100MW of power is needed 24/7–including during periods of peak power, exacerbating the demands on power production and giving Dominion Power and other utilities more ammunition to build more power plants and power lines.

    Assuming 5 million customers results in annual energy consumption of 876 million kWh. A not unreasonable estimate for CO2 is about 1.3 pounds per kWh, resulting in more than 1/2 million metric tons of CO2 emitted due to these boxes.

    The technology to make these backup boxes “smart” already exists. They could power down to less than a watt when there is no call for service. But Verizon does not care. They would rather save the $1 on the cheaper unit than help reduce demand on the grid.

    I’d like for Verizon to include these emissions in their calculations. That would then incentivize them in the right direction.

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