7/28/20 · Research

UOC project wins Tech & Climate challenge to reduce tech companies' environmental impact

Photo: tweetyspics / Pixabay

Photo: tweetyspics / Pixabay

Researchers at the UOC devised a project to assess the environmental footprint left by cloud computing, and were proclaimed one of the winners of the Tech & Climate challenge to measure, reduce and raise awareness on the environmental impact caused by tech companies. Their project will take away as much as €40,000 in prize money to help offset the costs of launching a pilot test in Barcelona city.

Cloud computing guzzles large amounts of energy, a fact typically unknown by users. In this line, researchers at the Wireless Networks Research Lab (WINE) at the UOC's Internet Interdisciplinary Institute designed an innovative tool, called the EFC (A tool for the assessment of the energetic footprint of cloud computing), to measure the efficient use of cloud-based resources and calculate energy consumption. The tool will help policymakers draft energy efficiency policies that ensure optimal consumption, and to set up mechanisms that raise awareness among users of how much energy goes into powering the cloud-based services they use.

According to Xavier Vilajosana and Borja Martínez, WINE researchers and the driving force behind the project, "Our goal is for this solution to become an independent, open source tool that helps organizations stay informed and put the appropriate measures in place to reduce the footprint left by their activities."

The UOC's fellow winner of the Tech & Climate challenge was Canadian company Awesense, which presented a software platform for optimizing energy production and consumption in energy systems.

Tech & Climate challenge

The Tech & Climate challenge is the result of a partnership led by the Digital Future Society (an initiative backed by the Office of the Third Vice President of the Government of Spain – Ministry of the Economy and Digital Transformation, Red.es and Mobile World Capital Barcelona) and Barcelona City Council. The goal of the challenge is to reduce tech companies' environmental impact by finding digital solutions that help reach the 2030 Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals.

The call was launched in April earlier this year, receiving a total of 27 project applications, half of which came from outside Spain. Roll-out of the presented solutions had to be technically feasible in under 12 months' time. Moreover, the tools had to be scalable and contemplate potential near-future scenarios concerning technological shifts and trends.

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