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Eclipse Patchwork Kilt

This proposal is in the Project Proposal Phase (as defined in the Eclipse Development Process) and is written to declare its intent and scope. We solicit additional participation and input from the community. Please login and add your feedback in the comments section.
Parent Project
Proposal State
Created
Background

OpenUK is moving its Net Zero Data Centre Blueprint promoting sustainability to the Eclipse Foundation. OpenUK is a not for profit industry organisation for the business of Open Technology, being open source software, open source hardware and open data across the UK. The new project, to be called Patchwork Kilt, provides a framework for organisations to adopt more energy efficient design in how they build, operate and manage the supply chain for their data centres. This will help create more carbon neutral and even carbon negative Data Centres that contribute more back to the wider community

So many aspects of our life – personal, professional, medical, educational, entertainment – are fueled by technology. While technological innovation should be leveraged to help solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry is going in the wrong direction on carbon and climate mitigation.

The Shift Project estimates that on its current path, the global ICT industry could be on track to grow from ~4% of global GHG today to nearly 8% by 2025. The gradual shift to renewable energy, while important, is a small part of the solution. There are greater than 50m tonnes of e-waste produced annually – this number is growing and we are running out of the Earth’s minerals required for electronic components. 

Data centers are the backbone of the ICT industry, and their scale is important and immense. We need a blueprint to drive their decarbonisation and their dematerialisation.

Scope

The Eclipse Patchwork Kilt project provides a blueprint for decarbonisation and dematerialisation of data centres. 

The project covers six key areas of a data centre:

  • Buildings

  • Energy

  • Hardware & software

  • Network

  • Operations

  • Regulatory

Each key area is broken down into further components, and each component is addressed as follows: approach > potential impact > references & case studies.

Description

The Eclipse Patchwork Kilt blueprint aims to demonstrate how data centres can meet the zero-waste industry goals for circularity with over 90% dematerialisation. It will also showcase how solutions can contribute to the global goal of 80% decarbonisation. This can happen by working across three pillars:

  1. Decarbonisation of all key layers of the data centres: Specifically, the requirements and opportunities corresponding to the physical (built) infrastructure, IT hardware, and broader municipal energy usage and recapture, providing actionable guidance for implementation of solutions, in part and in whole. Some of these opportunities are available today but are under-utilised in the context of data centres. 

  • For operational phase energy (scope 1 and 2)  direct emissions, data centres need to deploy: 

    1. Full energy efficiency in the built environment 

    2. Power data centres via renewable energy sources 

    3. Local or district level heat recovery solutions

    4. Electrification of transportation fleet

    5. Electrification of onsite fossil fuel processes such as steam

  • For indirect supply chain emissions (scope 3) that require a circular solution, key strategies include: 

    1. Reuse of servers and components to the fullest extent 

    2. Arrangement for onsite and offsite repair and lifecycle extension of server and network parts

    3. Reduction and offset of product transportation miles 

    4. Adoption of responsible packaging solutions that include all packaging materials coming from recycled content and for them to be further reusable, recyclable, or compostable, eliminate single use plastic in IT asset packaging , and dramatically reduce packaging weight.

    5. Share learnings linked to reuse, disassembly, reassembly, and recycling to all partners in the supply chain

2. Adoption of an open technology platform across hardware, software and data (3 Opens) and carbon accounting frameworks as the critical backbone in enabling circular, carbon negative data centres. Open source software enables release of licensed and copyrighted source code; Open Source Hardware enables the release of the designs of tangible artefacts; and Open Data relies on the notion of transparency and that data should be freely available to everyone. All rely on the principles of collaboration and public benefit which is key to an effective circular economy. 

3. Commitment to increased transparency, inclusive economy, and equitable access: Transparency is also a key component needed to build trust within communities and transform digital infrastructure into a holistic solution that contributes to sustainable cities (SDG 11) – for example from heat waste recycling into homes, which can replace the reliance on natural gas, to decreasing the cost of access, particularly for marginalised communities, due to local proximity to data centres.

Why Here?

What value does this project bring to our community?

Sustainability is a core theme of our time, and it will be beneficial for the Eclipse Foundation to be seen as a leader. Lessons learned and potentially components built can be shared and re-used among all projects and working groups. It can be a model in how to approach technology with a sustainable-first mentality.

What value do you expect to obtain from hosting your project at the centre of this community using this forge?

The initial value sought is for the Eclipse Patchwork Kilt project to act as the focal point to build further community. This will initially involve convening all the current partners and mapping out next steps for each of the six project key areas.

Future Work

Convening project contributors to work out roadmap.

More depth in the operations bucket. E.g. shorter round trips, reducing fleet sizes.

More variation in the hardware and software bucket. Different ways to achieve the same result.

More case studies.

Learnings from deploying the blueprint, e.g. a potential deployment in Dundee, Scotland.

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