New methodology to assess energy and GHG impact of ICTs on cities

ITU meeting in India sets building blocks for Smart Sustainable Cities

Geneva, 19 December 2014 – ITU members have achieved first-stage approval (‘consent’) of a new methodology to assess the environmental impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) on the energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of cities. The methodology will assist in making the case for Smart Sustainable Cities, providing an internationally recognized means of quantifying the extent to which the application of ICTs can improve the environmental sustainability of city infrastructures and operations.

The new methodology 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.

“We are living through the highest rates of urbanization the world has ever seen and improving the environmental sustainability of cities has become a central policy objective of administrations worldwide,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “ICTs can contribute to achieving this objective, and this methodology will go a long way in improving lives in our cities.”

Colette Maloney, Head, Smart Cities and Sustainability, European Commission: “The European Commission welcomes the work of ITU towards the developing of a new standard which can help measure the effectiveness of Smart City solutions in meeting the global challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The new methodology was approved by ITU-T Study Group 5 (SG5) at its meeting in Kochi, India, 8-19 December 2014. In recognition of the growing number of its work items with relevance to smart cities, SG5 also created a new work stream (‘Question’) on ‘Smart Sustainable Cities and Communities’.

SG5, in addition, approved four technical reports developed by the ITU-T Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities. The reports, available on the Focus Group’s homepage, provide an overview of Smart Sustainable Cities and the role of ICTs in achieving the objectives. Also included are an analysis of relevant definitions, considerations related to electromagnetic fields (EMF), and an overview of applicable key performance indicators.

In conjunction with SG5, Kochi hosted the ninth ‘ITU Symposium on ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change‘, focusing on the theme: Smart Sustainable Cities. The event introduced participants to the standardized frameworks that ITU provides to improve energy efficiency and climate monitoring and adaptation, as well the standards designed to protect telecommunication equipment and installations from damage and malfunction due to electromagnetic disturbances.

Held back-to-back with the symposium, an ‘ITU Forum on Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields in India‘ offered an overview of ITU technical frameworks designed to ensure the responsible management of human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) as mobile network infrastructure expands. A highlight of the event was the launch of a new mobile app, ‘EMF Guide‘, which provides an introduction to EMF and their relationship with health as well as various internationally agreed guidelines and standards designed to ensure safety in the use of mobile phones and other wireless technologies (see press release).

About ITU

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For 150 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world. www.itu.int