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June 10, 2008

Greening IT in NEOhio

We are long overdue in having a broad regional conversation about a consolidated or even cloud-based approach to "Greening IT in Northeast Ohio". Our IT data centers produce more CO2 then our airline industry. The silence in our region has been deafening.

In the release of its path breaking report released last week, the Brooking's Institute "Shrinking Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America" calls on Washington to develop a new policy framework to create incentives to reduce the country's carbon footprint. I have pasted below the profile of NEOhio.

According to the study,

Federal policy could play a powerful role in helping metropolitan areas—and so the nation—shrink their carbon footprint further. In addition to economy-wide policies to motivate action, five targeted policies are particularly important within metro areas and for the nation as a whole:

* Promote more transportation choices to expand transit and compact development options

* Introduce more energy-efficient freight operations with regional freight planning

* Require home energy cost disclosure when selling and “on-bill” financing to stimulate and scale up energy-efficient retrofitting of residential housing

* Use federal housing policy to create incentives for energy- and location-efficient decisions

* Issue a metropolitan challenge to develop innovative solutions that integrate multiple policy areas


It's this last recommendation that peaked my interest and I want to share with other technology and facilities leaders in NEOhio. Can we architect a common Green IT approach for NEOhio following the successful model we developed 5 years ago for connecting NEOhio with ultra broadband through OneCommunity? Later this summer, I'd like to invite those interested to a working session on the topic with an eye to issuing some principles for further exploration on a regional basis.

Here is the report synopsis for our community...


Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America

Metro Area Profile: Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH

The report “Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America” quantifies for the first time the amount and most significant sources of carbon emitted—from highway transportation and residential
energy consumption—by the 100 largest metropolitan areas in 2000 and 2005. Substantial variation exists among these “carbon footprints” of metro areas, due in part to their development patterns, rail
transit, freight traffic, carbon content of electricity sources, electricity prices, and weather.

To access the entire report, see www.blueprintprosperity.org

Per Capita Carbon Footprints, 2000-2005

Trends. Metropolitan Cleveland’s per capita footprint from transportation and residential energy use increased 4.28 percent between 2000 and 2005. The average per capita footprint of the 100 largest metro areas and of the nation increased 1.1 percent and 2.2 percent during this time, respectively.

The transportation portion of Cleveland’s per capita footprint increased 3.1 percent between 2000 and 2005, compared to an increase of 2.4 percent in the 100 largest metro areas. The residential portion of Cleveland’s per capita footprint increased 5.4 percent between 2000 and 2005, compared to a slight decrease of 0.7 percent in the 100 largest metro areas.

Snapshot = 2005. The average resident in metropolitan Cleveland emitted 2.235 tons of carbon from highway transportation and residential energy in 2005 (rank 31st). This compares with 2.24 tons of carbon emitted by the average 100-metro resident and 2.60 tons of carbon emitted by the average American from transportation and residential energy.

From highway transportation. The average Cleveland resident emitted 1.072 tons of carbon from highway transportation (rank 12th). The average 100-metro resident emitted 1.310 tons and the average American emitted 1.44 tons from highway transportation.

The average Cleveland resident emitted 0.842 tons from autos (rank 11th) and 0.230 tons from trucks (rank 21st), compared to 1.004 tons from autos and 0.305 tons from trucks from the average 100-metro resident.

From residential energy use. The average Cleveland resident emitted 1.163 tons of carbon from residential energy use (rank 74th). The average 100-metro resident emitted 0.925 tons and the average American emitted 1.16 tons of carbon from residential energy use.

The average Cleveland resident emitted 0.694 tons from electricity (rank 52nd) and 0.468 tons from residential fuels (rank 73rd). This compares to 0.611 tons from electricity and 0.314 tons from fuels from the average 100-metro resident.

There's an opportunity for the IT community to lead the region in raising the challenge of greening our industry.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
June 10, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at June 10, 2008 11:42 AM and tagged

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