SCTE’s SEMI project to drive adoption of ‘green’ practices

Mon, 02/01/2010 - 7:30am
Mike Robuck

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers underscored its commitment to environmentally friendly “green” best practices with today’s launch of a new project.

The Smart Energy Management Initiative (SEMI) builds upon the success of the SCTE’s Green Pavilion at last year’s Cable-Tec Expo in Denver and bolsters the organization’s commitment to finding best practices and green strategies that not only help the environment, but the cable industry’s bottom line.

SCTE - Smart Energy Management Initiative“This is executing on some of the early thinking and turning it into real material projects and value for SCTE,” SCTE President and CEO Mark Dzuban said. “From an applied science perspective, how do we optimize the investments we’ve made in our networks, and how do we operate them efficiently? We need to optimize for the benefit of our industry, which is significant, but we also need to educate our workforce to help get that done.”

The SCTE has been working with cable operator employees, including an MSO Steering Council, in order to identify and then prioritize the elements of its SEMI initiative. The initial to-do list for this year and beyond includes multiple forums to raise awareness of developing solutions and how they apply to cable operations, an intensive research and thought leadership program, expanded panels and exhibit platforms at Cable-Tec Expo and other SCTE events, development of best practices in the area of energy management and practical technology demonstrations.

To start with, the SCTE will host the first of several 2010 SEMI events on April 7 at the Comcast Center in Philadelphia. The planned agenda is expected to include a variety of topics, such as development of a process for calculating baseline energy usage, updates on alternative heating and cooling solutions, and approaches to reduce outside plant powering costs and consumption.

The inaugural forum in December addressed facility-powering issues and the industry-wide need for, and benefits of, comprehensive energy management plans.

The SCTE plans on having an additional forum in November, with the subject matter to be determined. The list of initial vendors and cable operators that are providing their input include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Alpha Technologies and CommScope.

Dzuban said three green areas of interest have been identified: facilities – which includes power-hungry data centers – fleet and outside plant, which includes the actual distribution network. Areas of study within these three areas include:

  • Increased use of workforce management tools to increase the efficiency of truck rolls through the integration of GIS, GPS and OSS mobile navigation systems
  • The role of alternative fuels for fleet powering and hybrid vehicles
  • Incorporation of solar, wind, fuel cells and other renewable sources to power facilities such as headends, hubs, data centers and administrative centers
  • Alternatives such as geothermal for cooling of data centers and other network facilities
  • Creation of an industry-wide system to ensure that potentially hazardous elements from devices are re-used and not allowed to pose harm to the environment
  • New guidelines for equipment power consumption and heat dissipation methods

The SCTE is also working with CableLabs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association on ways to execute and operate its SEMI project.

“The cable industry recognizes that we must find new and creative ways to implement ‘green’ solutions that will maximize energy efficiency, reduce our overall carbon footprint and increase use of alternative energy sources,” said NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow. “We applaud SCTE’s launch of this comprehensive initiative and look forward to working with SCTE to help make significant advancements in the way we consume and manage our environmental resources.”

Dzuban said other efforts include another Green Pavilion at this year’s Cable-Tec Expo, a newsletter and specific links on the SCTE’s current Web site, and a more expanded presence on the SCTE’s revised Web site that is slated to launch later this year.

“The Web site will be huge in terms of being able to scale a lot of the work that is being done,” Dzuban said. “Providing information and the ability to expand the knowledge base is very important, and that is a part of this process in 2010 also. As links surface we’ll put them on our Web site. For example, we have links that provide information on the best places in the nation, and the world, for sun and wind.”

For more information on SEMI, e-mail

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