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Electronics Production | May 04, 2009

EMS: Not going green is not an option on the infrastructure side

Advanced communication technology can play a significant role in creating a sustainable future. Green thinking is already reducing the running costs of data centers and rural base stations.
The ICT (Information and communication technologies) sector currently generates approximately 2% of global carbon emissions, more than 2/3 of which are generated by the network.

On the network side green thinking in base stations has extended from materials used in base station build, to the efficiency of the operation and the maintenance and energy management solutions of the base stations themselves. Technical developments are increasing the efficiency of base stations, reducing the effect on the environment, and reducing costs. The energy consumption of a base station site can be reduced up to 70% by using the latest technology and in this way reduce the CO2 Emission. Alternative energy sources are being investigated, with solar power, wind power and biofuels used to extend mobile coverage in rural areas.

Cost efficiency as important driver
Reducing global carbon emissions also has financial drivers. One important driver for energy efficiency is the growing cost of energy and raw materials which is driving recycling and material use efficiency.

In addition to financial benefits environmental legislation and regulations are driving the communications network industry towards a more environmental sustainable future. Environmental legislation often originates in Europe, but is adopted in worldwide markets. A good example of this is the European Union’s new chemical regulation, REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) that came into force in June 2007. The regulation aims to ensure the highest possible level of safety in chemical handling with regard to both human health and the environment.

EMS companies in important role
Customers of an EMS-company must always be able to rest assured that the company’s operations are sustainable and ethical. Elcoteq is following the environmental impact at all stages of the product life cycle: design, NPI, manufacturing, after market services. For years now Elcoteq’s global environmental targets have been to lower energy consumption, reduce the amount of waste generated and increase waste recycling. All units comply with national and international legislation, regulations and generally approved principles concerning environmental matters.

Product’s recyclability
Elcoteq uses a global application developed for internal material data management. This tool can be used to store, analyze and report the chemical content of all components and materials included in the product. This system also makes it easier to report on product recyclability and will be an important element to help with meeting future requirements, such as the EuP Directive, a framework for setting eco-design and development requirements for energy-using products.

Elcoteq uses the Design for Environment (DfE) process in its R&D projects. In order to ensure that, for example, product recyclability is improved and the use of hazardous substances, energy consumption and material amounts are minimized at the design phase, Elcoteq has created a DfE plan that includes the project schedule and a checklist of environmental criteria.

In the very end, there is huge capacity on the infrastructure side to reduce the carbon emissions percentage by improving over-all energy efficiency and decreasing power consumption. Meaning simply, that not going green is not an option for the industry.

Author: Elina Kokko (Elcoteq Blog)

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