Using information and communications could cut energy consumption in construction, transport and logistics and save 15% in total carbon emissions by 2020, the European Commission said today.
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The European Commission (EC) called on Europe's ICT industry to agree a common methodology for measuring energy consumption and carbon emissions by 2010 and to use that data to demonstrate, by 2011, how it will become 20% more energy-efficient by 2015.
The EC said ICT equipment and services account for about 8% of electrical power and about 2% of carbon emissions in the EU. It said the ICT sector should adopt bold energy efficiency targets by 2011.
It also asked EU countries to agree on common specifications for smart metering by the end of 2010.
"Making better use of innovative ICT solutions will help us meet Europe's objectives of a low-carbon economy," said communications commissioner Viviane Reding.
The commission today adopted a recommendation that the ICT sector should lead the transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy.
The EC called on the sector to agree common methodologies for measuring energy consumption and carbon emissions by 2010. This would provide more reliable data by which to set ambitious sector targets for energy efficiency and emission cuts by 2011. These sector targets should aim to overtake the EU's existing 2020 targets by 2015, it said.
EU member states have until the end of 2010 to agree a common specification for smart metering. With smart metering consumers could reduce their energy consumption by as much as 10%, the EC said. A timeframe for the roll-out of smart metering in European households should be agreed by the end of 2012.
The commission said that if Europe replaced one in five business trips by video conferencing, it could save more than 22 million tons of CO2 a year.
Broadband networks that increased use of online public services and applications could save at least 1% to 2% of total energy used worldwide by 2020, it said.