New ITU standard for city-level assessment of ICT environmental impact

ITU members have approved a new standard to assess the environmental impacts of cities attributable to information and communication technologies (ICTs). The internationally agreed methodology provides cities with a uniform means of quantifying ICTs’ energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The methodology will also assist cities in measuring their degree of success in promoting ICT-enabled energy and emissions savings.

The new standard – Recommendation ITU-T L.1440 “Methodology for environmental impact assessment of information and communication technologies at city level” – achieved final approval at a meeting of ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change) in Geneva, 12-23 October 2015.

ITU-T L.1440 is the latest addition to the ITU-T L.1400 series, joining methodologies for the lifecycle assessment of ICT goods, networks and services; the analysis of the effect of ICTs on the environmental impact of organizations; and the evaluation of ICT projects targeting gains in energy efficiency and decreases in GHG emissions.

“ITU-T L.1440 will assist in making the case for smart sustainable cities, and in quantifying the success of smart-city projects,” said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “Cities are at the heart of our pursuit of environmental sustainability, and ITU is pleased to have another valuable standard to showcase at the upcoming COP-21 in Paris.”

The European Commission has supported and contributed to ITU-T L.1440 from the outset of its development.

“The European Commission welcomes ITU’s work to build consensus on tools to assess our progress in improving the environmental sustainability of the ICT sector,” said Colette Maloney, Head of Smart Cities and Sustainability at the European Commission. “Our contribution to the development of ITU-T L.1440 was particularly rewarding in how it evidenced stakeholders’ will to collaborate in the interests of our climate.”

The ITU-T L.1400 series has grown in strength as a result of efficient collaboration between ITU-T and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). This collaboration was motivated in part by the feedback received from the European Commission’s trial of various ICT environmental impact assessment methodologies, which encouraged ITU and ETSI to align their respective methodologies. Read more about ITU-ETSI collaboration on standards for the assessment of the environmental impacts of ICT goods, networks and services and measurements of the energy efficiency of live radio access networks.

Standards development to provide the foundations of smart sustainable cities is a high-priority work area to ITU-T Study Group 5.

ITU has launched a two-year pilot project to evaluate the feasibility of the key performance indicators for smart sustainable cities developed by the ITU-T Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities. Dubai and Singapore were the first two cities to join the pilot project, and ITU expects other cities to follow suit.

The pilot project will test and verify the key performance indicators as a contribution to their international standardization by ITU-T Study Group 5. Cities’ experience with the indicators will also assist ITU-T Study Group 5 in the potential development of a ‘Global Smart Sustainable Cities Index’ derived from the set of indicators.

To learn more about ITU-T Study Group 5, please consult the group’s homepage…

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