Data centres, servers, cloud and data services – IT infrastructures provide processing power, storage capacity, application software and database services, which do not have to be installed locally by the user but are available via an Internet connection. These applications and services can have significant adverse environmental impacts, which are associated with resource extraction and the production, use and ultimately the disposal of the digital products on which they are based. Determining and assessing the environmental performance of IT infrastructures is a complex process as they often rely on a large number of IT products which together comprise the IT system.
The Oeko-Institut captures the environmental performance of the system as a whole by using indicators which provide a comprehensive overview of the IT infrastructure’s efficiency. The experts factor in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, resource demand and, if relevant, water consumption. In this way, they calculate the environmental footprint, which can then be used to compare various applications. They thus establish the basis for targeted decision-making in favour of “greener” IT services.