, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 149-162

Data network equipment energy use and savings potential in buildings

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Abstract

Network connectivity has become nearly ubiquitous, and the energy use of the equipment required for this connectivity is growing. Network equipment consists of devices that primarily switch and route Internet Protocol (IP) packets from a source to a destination, and this category specifically excludes edge devices like PCs, servers and other sources, and sinks of IP traffic. This paper presents the results of a study of network equipment energy use and includes case studies of networks in a campus, a medium commercial building, and a typical home. The total energy use of network equipment is the product of the stock of equipment in use, the power of each device, and their usage patterns. This information was gathered from market research reports, broadband market penetration studies, field metering, and interviews with network administrators and service providers. We estimate that network equipment in the USA used 18 TWh, or about 1% of building electricity, in 2008 and that consumption is expected to grow at roughly 6% per year to 23 TWh in 2012; world usage in 2008 was 51 TWh. This study shows that office building network switches and residential equipment are the two largest categories of energy use consuming 40% and 30% of the total respectively. We estimate potential energy savings for different scenarios using forecasts of equipment stock and energy use, and savings estimates range from 20% to 50% based on full market penetration of efficient technologies.