NEW ORLEANS - Stating that "we're examining every way that we and our customers can use energy to promote savings," Verizon's network energy conservation expert outlined on Wednesday (March 4) the major initiatives the company is undertaking to conserve energy in the communications network and to help its customers do so.
Chuck Graff, Verizon's director of corporate and network technology, said the initiatives include implementing strict standards governing the energy efficiency of new network equipment ordered by the company; making greater use of fuel cells; and testing geothermal heating and cooling facilities.
In remarks prepared for delivery to the Broadband Forum, a worldwide organization that promotes broadband issues and energy efficiency and conservation in broadband technologies, Graff also said that Verizon's broadband fiber-to-the home and wireless networks have a major role to play in helping businesses and consumers conserve energy.
"Setting and achieving goals and using available technologies are things we all can do," Graff said. "And one of the triggers for great conservation advances will be America's broadband networks and services - the lifeblood of the forum and its goals. As Americans start to use broadband networks more and more, they save energy, too."
Graff, who last June headed Verizon's innovative mandate that requires all new network equipment to be at least 20 percent more efficient than prior technologies, said the new standards - coupled with programs that can track consumption and the carbon equivalent impact of new technologies - will drive Verizon's campaign to improve the efficiency of its networks. This can be achieved even as networked communications burgeon in coming years, he said.
Graff pointed out that reducing the energy consumed by the equipment reduces the heat it generates, creating a complementary reduction in the cost of providing air conditioning in the buildings in which the heat-sensitive equipment is stored.
Graff has established a Web site (www.verizonnebs.com) to support his energy conservation efforts.
Verizon and many of its suppliers are following the guidelines in reviewing new equipment coming online as of January 1 of this year. Innovative tracking software lets Verizon calculate consumption and carbon equivalents for energy saved by compliant equipment.
Graff has also begun an analysis of ways Verizon's wireless network, especially its cell sites, can be made more efficient by replacing older equipment - and in some cases using fuel cell technology, where appropriate - to power the radio towers that support wireless services.
Verizon was a pioneer in fuel cell use, powering some equipment on Long Island and elsewhere with the new technology. The company also is operating some geothermal heating and cooling facilities to test the value of tapping the earth's constant temperature for warmth or cooling, using heat pump equipment.
Verizon's groundbreaking fiber-to-the-home network is also providing enormous energy savings, Graff said. The fiber-optic equipment in the network itself consumes only 38 percent of the electric power that copper high-speed Internet facilities consume, he said.
The impact of telecommunications technology on customer behaviors has an impact on overall national performance, Graff noted. Broadband networks, for example, can cut America's dependence on foreign oil by 11 percent over the next 10 years as teleworking, teleconferencing, e-commerce and conservation gain in popularity. In addition, the environment will be spared about a billion tons of carbon as a result of broadband's impact on society.
Graff also pointed to United Parcel Service, which has deployed software to determine the most efficient delivery routes for the company's trucks and as a result is saving 28.5 million miles a year, 3 million gallons of gas and is cutting CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons.
As consumers modify their behavior to use broadband where they might otherwise have used their cars and consumed gasoline, the impact will grow, Graff said. For example, he said, using online movie services instead of going to the video store, or reading information from a networked device instead of a printed page, are the kinds of behavior changes that will drive conservation.
For the past eight years, Graff has been sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge across the industry via the Network Equipment Building System, or NEBS, conferences at which information and experiences are exchanged among engineers and others. Accounts of the conferences are available at www.verizonnebs.com.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 80 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 224,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.