Enabling a low-carbon economy
While HP is engaged in many initiatives to reduce the energy consumption of its products in manufacture, transport and use, our greatest contribution to tackling climate change will lie in developing products and services to enable a broad-based digital transformation toward a low-carbon economy. We believe that we can apply IT to reduce energy-intensive and carbon-heavy processes in three ways: measurement that increases the transparency of energy use, increased efficiency of activities and processes, and replacing physical goods and services with digital versions. These approaches are a key element in our climate strategy.
We are committed to improve the efficiency of IT products and services, but the IT industry is responsible for only about 2 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We can make a bigger impact by significantly reducing the other 98 percent of emissions.
HP is a member of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), which has identified information and communications technology (ICT) opportunities that can lead to emission reductions. A recent study by the organization estimates possible emissions savings overall equalling five times the size of the IT sector’s own footprint, up to 7.8 billion tonnes CO2e, or 15 percent of total emissions by 2020 compared with current “business as usual” projections.1
HP has also partnered with the environmental organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to examine the potential for IT to enable GHG emission reductions in several sectors and applications.
Low-carbon IT solutions
HP is applying IT to energy- and carbon-intensive processes to make them transparent, efficient and transformational.
HP is developing software and services to help assess, manage and report energy use and GHG emissions, such as through our Carbon Emissions Management Service for enterprises and our Carbon Footprint Calculator for printers and PCs (see case studies).
We also provide the computing, advanced metering and data management technologies necessary to enable smart electricity grids, which are interactive networks enabling utilities to reduce energy consumption. Real-time information can help reduce consumption by providing transparency on consumers’ energy use, and enabling utilities to better anticipate and manage demand. HP is helping to make the smart grid a reality with business initiatives providing:
- Business intelligence, IT transformation and data management
- Management and control of the electricity smart grid and the intelligent network for gas and water utilities
- Solutions addressing security and safety risks
HP is continually improving the efficiency of products and services, from the desktop to the data center. See Products, services and software to learn more.
We are also applying IT to create energy-intelligent devices and systems in sectors ranging from agriculture to oil. By providing more real-time data and analysis, IT can enhance efficiency and decrease GHG emissions across entire systems such as buildings, farms and oil rigs. HP Labs has proved the existence of the memristor, a new element of electronic circuitry that has the potential to enable very low-cost, self-powered sensors that can measure data with extraordinary sensitivity. In buildings, the largest source of GHG emissions in the developed world, this would enable real-time optimization of heating, cooling and electricity usage. In agriculture, an industry with high climate impact, it would allow farmers to use water and fertilizer more effectively. On an oil rig, it would let engineers know precisely when maintenance is needed or parts need replacing.
IT can replace physical products and processes with digital ones, such as reducing the need for business travel by enabling virtual meetings, saving paper and energy through digital printing, and substituting e-commerce for physical stores and shopping trips, all of which have the potential to decrease GHG emissions.
Virtual meetings Travel to business meetings, especially air travel, results in extensive GHG emissions. For example, one round trip from New York to London for one person produces nearly 1,250 kg (2,750 pounds) of carbon dioxide.
HP Halo solutions, our advanced video collaboration service, reduces the need for business travel by replicating the meeting environment virtually (see case study). In 2009, we extended this technology to our workstations and PCs with the SkyRoom product, which allows up to four people to meet virtually, sitting at their desks using a standard business network (see case study).
Digital commercial print and publishing Conventional commercial printing of books, newspapers, magazines and marketing materials typically results in high levels of over-production and waste. This is mainly because large-scale traditional printing presses involve time-consuming and expensive setup, which requires longer print runs to achieve a low cost per page. As a consequence, publishers typically produce large batches based on anticipated sales over several months, or more. Overproduction is typical—as much as 25 percent of book stock is destroyed without ever being sold.2
Digital press technology can eliminate much of this waste by cost-effectively producing just the amount needed at a given time. Shorter runs also make it possible to publish targeted content, saving paper by avoiding printing pages that are not relevant to the target readers. Paper savings translate to GHG emissions reductions, because paper represents approximately 70 percent of life cycle GHG emissions in typical print applications. See Life cycle assessment to learn more.
HP conducted a study to identify the potential to reduce GHG emissions through a conversion from analog to digital commercial printing and improved management of existing digital office printing.3 The largest potential savings come from reducing set-up losses associated with analog printing presses and implementing print on-demand strategy, minimizing unnecessary printing. We estimate that the shift to digital commercial printing has the potential to decrease annual global GHG emissions by 2020 between 110 and 250 million metric tonnes CO2e. This is roughly equivalent to estimated potential savings for global implementation of automated lighting or telecommuting.4
HP provides a range of digital printing products and services from small office to commercial printing of signs, graphics, books and magazines, including the following:
- HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press (see case study) for high-speed production printing
- HP Indigo 7000 digital press, a sheet-fed press for printing high quality documents and publications
- HP Scitex FB7500, a flatbed printer for applications such as point-of-sale material and posters
- HP Designjet L25500 series for outdoor signage
- Magcloud, a cloud-based service for on-demand magazine publishing (see case study)
- 1 SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age .
- 2 Findings from the U.S. Book Industry: Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts. Book Industry Study Group and Green Press Initiative, 2008.
- 3 Reducing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Commercial Print with Digital Technologies. Scott Canonico, Royston Sellman and Chris Preist, Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST).
- 4 See note 1 above.