On Clean Air Day (October 8th, 2020), Vodafone UK has announced it has reduced its carbon footprint, saving 100-gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy, equivalent to 25,000 tonnes of CO2,, in just three years.
Vodafone claims the energy saved could power a town with a population of 65,000 people for a year and represents a financial saving of around £10 million. The energy savings were achieved by optimising heating and cooling systems in offices and managing airflow to keep technical sites cool in the most energy-efficient way; and were validated by third-party energy auditor EEVS. Vodafone has pledged to power its network using 100% renewable electricity by July 2021 and to help its customers save 350 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030 through its connectivity and Internet of Things technology.
Working with facilities management company Mitie and as part of its Energy Performance Contract, Vodafone has so far audited 90 of its buildings, including offices, contact centres, data centres and Mobile Telephone Exchange (MTX) network sites, to assess energy usage and ensure efficiencies.
The audits checked that a building’s lighting, heating and air conditioning systems were operating at the highest energy efficiency rating. At more complex locations, such as data centres and MTX (mobile telephone exchange) sites, where 24/7 power is essential to keep the network running, sensors providing real-time data were used to identify energy-saving opportunities. For example, temperature sensors in data centres enabled the airflow to be automatically adjusted up or down remotely, ensuring the correct environment for this critical equipment in the most energy efficient way.
In offices and call centres, sensors in air conditioning systems enabled ‘dynamic controls’ so the air temperature could be managed remotely and at speed dependent on weather and conditions. Vodafone had already reduced the number of buildings it opened at weekends and on bank holidays making significant energy savings. During the COVID-19 lockdown, all but essential technical staff were moved to home working, meaning more buildings could be hibernated.
Says Scott Petty, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone UK:
“Not everything we’ve done here is revolutionary; we’ve achieved these staggering savings by doing the basics well and making energy reduction something we think about each and every day. Combined with our commitment to power our network with 100% renewable electricity by 2021 – and help our customers reduce their own carbon footprints with our connectivity and Internet of Things technology – this will ensure we are helping to build a more sustainable future.”