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  • 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report
2016 Corporate Responsibility Report

Energy efficiency

Our network infrastructure forms the basis of our products and services. At the same time, operating this infrastructure is a main source of energy consumption at our company, which makes achieving greater energy efficiency in network operation a key component of our climate protection target. We take different approaches for the fixed network, mobile communications and data centers. When it comes to our networks, we engage in activities such as replacing outdated technology with new technology, e.g., the migration of our fixed-line network to IP technology. We track the migration progress by annually comparing energy consumption values and resulting CO2 emissions with the planned figures. In addition, we are currently consolidating data traffic into only a few, particularly efficient data centers.

Operating energy-efficient networks

We operate our own fixed-line and mobile networks in Europe and the U.S. Much of our energy requirements come from operating this network infrastructure. In the interest of our customers, we continue to increase the capacity and performance of our networks so that we can handle growing amounts of data and improve the speed and quality of data transmission. However, this also means higher energy requirements. We pursue three different approaches to reduce our energy needs:

  • We update our network infrastructure, e.g., by migrating to IP img technology, installing highly efficient air conditioning units and systematically removing equipment we no longer need.
  • We optimize energy generation and supply with the help of technical innovation.
  • We use more energy-efficient technology for lighting, monitoring and above all cooling our facilities.

Our internal energy service provider, Power & Air Solutions, which provides energy for our Group companies in Germany, plays a key role in these activities. Power & Air Solutions' energy management practices have been ISO 50001 certified since 2013.

Measuring and controlling energy consumption
The PUE img (Power Usage Effectiveness) factor is measured annually and is an important performance indicator for managing our climate protection measures. We are planning to reduce the PUE factor img of our fixed-line network in Germany to 1.4 by the year 2020. We expect to see this value continue to fall over the next few years and are confident that we will reach our goal. This will allow us in part to compensate for increasing energy requirements due to growing volumes of data and new features.

Researching efficient network technologies
We successfully wrapped up the EARNI research project in 2016. The project's goal was to improve network capacity utilization and energy efficiency by using multipurpose technologies.

Andreas Kröhling

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Progress

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Expansion of energy-efficient data center in Biere

Our data center in Biere (near the city of Magdeburg) was put into operation in 2014 and is one of the world's most efficient data centers. And because demand for cloud services "made in Germany" is on the rise, we are currently expanding it to increase the server capacity by 150 percent. The expansion process began in September 2016 and Biere 2 is scheduled to be up and running by Q2 2018.

Biere sets new standards

Reduced CO2 emissions in data centers in Germany

We also keep our goal of reducing our carbon footprint in mind when planning and operating our data centers. To achieve this goal, T-Systems takes a two-step approach. It starts with optimizing energy consumption at each data center site and then continues with improving processes throughout the global data center landscape.

The key indicator of increased energy efficiency at our data centers is the PUE img factor. We were able to reduce the average PUE factor img at the T-Systems data centers in Germany from 1.85 to 1.54 between 2008 and 2016 (1.63 in 2015) due to ongoing data center consolidation measures. Applications from less efficient data centers are being migrated to new, highly efficiency data centers.

Data centers are becoming more energy-efficient

The DC11@2018 program for improving processes throughout our global data center landscape has been up and running since 2013. The project combines physical data center consolidation (i.e., reducing data center space and sites) with logical consolidation (i.e., virtualizing data center infrastructure). The objective of the DC11@2018 program is to consolidate global data center capacity at  FMO (future mode of operation) data centers using the latest IT technology. We effectively completed all of the steps necessary in this process in 2016.

The target average PUE factor at all FMO data centers will be 1.4 once the program has been completed in late 2018/early 2019. This requires a homogeneous IT landscape combined with optimum capacity utilization of data center infrastructure, IT hardware and the software running on the systems. We expect to see further significant reductions in CO2 emissions as a result. For the year 2020, the latest program plans indicate accumulated reductions in CO2 by up to 51 percent compared to 2012.

Our target PUE factor for our highly efficient data center in Biere is 1.3. By migrating data from outdated data centers to Biere, we were able to achieve a PUE factor of 1.46 by the end of 2016 and expect to record a PUE factor of 1.3 in Biere by late 2017.

Progress in our office buildings and data centers

Since 2016, our office building in Vianen has been supplied entirely with green energy (100 percent). Our offices in Heerlen and The Hague are currently in a negotiation phase. The other tenants in the building need to agree to green energy supply.

The main focus for our data centers in 2016 was the significant decrease of floorspace and energy consumption (13 percent less compared to 2015). This was achieved through our asset refresh program, decommissioning and data-center consolidation.

Environmentally friendly data centers in Austria

Operating data centers requires a lot of energy and T-Systems Austria is dedicated to running its data centers in a maximally environmentally friendly approach. Mitigation makes our data centers in Gmünd, Linz and Vienna entirely carbon neutral. Mitigation means that resources are used absorb the same amount of CO2 as that emitted by production of the necessary energy.

We are also actively engaged in initiatives to reduce energy consumption. We use a “cold/warm technique” in server cabinets to regulate temperature as efficiently as possible and this results in energy savings. In 2016, we achieved total energy reduction of 367,624 kWh. This yields a year-on-year reduction of 63 percent.

Our fire-extinguishing system has also been designed on environmental principles. Our data center at the T-Center in Vienna has 168 fire extinguishers filled with a mixture of nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide for emergencies. The extinguishing agent is harmless to humans, leaves no residue, and is 100 percent environmentally neutral.

New measures for more efficient networks

We launched the following projects in 2016 to reduce our energy consumption and improve the energy efficiency of our infrastructure:

Advancement of Energy Dashboard
The Energy Dashboard is a web-based application that we use for monitoring the energy consumption of our fixed-network nodes. New functions were added to the app in 2016, helping us more effectively analyze stored data. We also further developed the user interface, making it easier to upload external data.

New intermediate meters help reduce electricity consumption
We installed roughly 1,500 calibrated intermediate meters in our offices and technology sites during the reporting period. The meters identify heavy consumption devices and point out additional areas where consumption can be reduced at our facilities.

Pilot test for energy-efficient climate control a success
In Nuremberg we are testing innovative control technology for our server cooling system, which uses several sensors to record room temperature directly at the servers. The result is a 15 percent reduction in electricity consumption since the existing cooling systems can be operated more effectively. We are planning to continue testing in 2017 with the aim of being able to estimate reduction potential during live operation.

Completion of research project on energy-efficient networks

We are always expanding and optimizing our networks so that we can offer services that are demand-oriented and energy-efficient. Whenever technically feasible, we are increasingly employing system technology based on multipurpose hardware. We joined forces with Alcatel-Lucent and the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute in 2015 to launch the Energy-Aware Network Infrastructure (EARNI) project. The aim of this project was to find out whether using new multipurpose systems img has a favorable impact on network energy efficiency.

EARNI

For the research project, we used an actual use case to calculate energy requirements and compared the results with conventional technology. Final results show that careful planning and network design enable improved energy efficiency of multipurpose systems compared to traditional network systems thanks to higher capacity utilization. The system also permits load-adaptive operation.

Multipurpose hardware img also makes it possible to incorporate controllers to control local energy supply systems. This way CHP plants and photovoltaic systems can be used to provide power to the telecommunications network. The network system hardware can also be used to operate the controllers. The EARNI project also analyzed a relevant use case.

The research done within project EARNI was based on the previous projects LOLA and DESI, which examined operating concepts for the load-adaptive operation of networks.

The project results were presented in 2016 at Electronics Goes Green 2016+ in Berlin and at the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) in Düsseldorf. More information can be found here and here.

Energy efficiency in buildings

Our facility energy management activities focus on the two areas of heating energy and electricity consumption. We have defined sub-targets for each of these areas to help us attain our climate target in Germany. Progress is measured twice a year.

Two approaches help us achieve our sub-targets: We are reducing our office space as part of HR downsizing measures and are optimizing space usage by introducing new office concepts. We also identify needs for reduction in energy consumption by using specific indicators such as "kilowatt hours per square meter," "energy consumption at midnight" or "peak loads" to compare similar facilities. Power & Air Solutions is in charge of the energy management system, which is ISO 50001-certified.

Heat and hot water
We use approximately 522 GWh of heating energy throughout Germany each year, primarily by using gas and heating oil as well as district heating. That is the same amount of energy needed to provide around 100,000 newly built apartments with heat and hot water. We regularly assess the need for repairs at our properties and conduct feasibility analyses to reduce consumption. Keeping the available budget in mind, we focus on the most necessary and particularly cost-efficient measures, including:

  • Optimizing heating systems
  • Updating the heating system in line with the German Energy Saving Ordinance
  • Using condensing boiler technology to replace old heating systems and pumps
  • Recovery of waste heat produced by data centers
  • Using CHP plants

Our real estate management departments are responsible for measurements, analyses and developing appropriate measures.

Electricity
Our employee workstations, lighting, and building technology, including pumps, ventilation, cooling and elevators, are responsible for the largest part of electricity consumption in our buildings. We focus our energy conservation measures on the following areas:

  • Using LED lighting and motion detectors in underground parking structures and hallways
  • Using state-of-the-art pumps and fans
  • Switching off building technology outside working hours

We conducted comprehensive energy consumption reviews at our sites in 2014 and 2015 and then implemented reduction measures during the reporting period based on the results. Our ventilation systems, for example, have been running on more efficient motors since 2016.

TMUS Energy Strategy

T-Mobile’s cross-functional energy team representing retail, corporate real estate, critical facilities, network engineering, procurement and sustainability meets several times annually to raise the profile of energy efficiency across the business. This year’s energy audits resulted in a 43,000 MWh annual reduction. 

A formal renewable energy plan was drafted in 2016 establishing short-term goals and guiding TMUS in its management of these efforts. The team engaged with leaders in the sustainability field in evaluating science-based targets and working toward longer-term goals.

T-Mobile also submitted its first Carbon Disclosure report in 2016. Additionally, we completed an Analytic Platform of the energy intensity per cell site. The analytic engine was incorporated into the existing metric platform used by local/regional engineering teams to further energy efficiency in spite of ever increasing data consumption by T-Mobile’s customers. Short term projects such as LED lighting and HVAC retrofits continued in earnest. Energy efficiency was incorporated into the criteria for new and expansion office and retail spaces within the TMUS footprint.

The company seeks energy savings

In 2016, T-Systems Mexico continued to reduce energy consumption by implementing a variety of different measures. One of the measures involved a change in our phone technology. We also followed up on all the measures we had already implemented during the previous year. These involved monitoring the air conditioning system to decrease power consumption at peak times, installing motion sensors in offices to give employees an individual air conditioning supply so that it is always off when no one is in the room, and replacing fluorescent lamps with LEDs. The totality of these measures resulted in an energy reduction of 14.38 % in 2016.