Information and communication technology (ICT) is already pervasive in virtually all aspects of everyday life and recent wide scale availability of AI portends an accelerated reliance on a more digitalized world. Data centers are the backbone of ICT and concern about the energy-intensive equipment within these buildings has led to many legitimate concerns – along with sensational claims – over the environmental implications of a society increasingly reliant on data intensive services.This presentation will compare these oft-cited claims against previous Berkeley Lab research, which have historically shown much more modest growth in energy use owing to strong energy-efficiency trends, and present current research around emerging computing trends that require rethinking current sustainability efforts. The presentation will highlight decarbonization opportunities of the ICT industry as well as how ICT can be used to decarbonize other sectors.
Dr. Arman Shehabi
Dr. Arman Shehabi is a Staff Scientist in the Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division of the Energy Technologies Area at LBNL. He has over 15 years’ experience measuring and modeling the potential energy, economic, and air pollutant impacts associated with the large-scale adoption of clean energy policy and technologies for buildings and manufacturing, with extensive research focused on the information and communication technology (ICT).Dr. Shehabi’s research at LBNL applies life-cycle assessments (LCA) methods to explore systems-wide energy, emissions, and materials flows through buildings and industrial sectors. His current work is focused on emerging technologies and industries in the areas of data center energy/water use, electronic waste recycling, building material circularity, and industrial decarbonization.Dr. Shehabi has authored over 50 journal articles, research reports, and conference papers. His work has been published in Science Magazine and Nature journals, cited in U.S. congressional legislation, and featured in BBC, NPR, and NYT stories. Prior to joining LBNL, Dr. Shehabi held fellowship positions with the National Academy of Science in Washington, D.C. and with the Consortium on Green Design and Manufacturing at UC Berkeley. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University and UC Berkeley, respectively, with an emphasis in building energy use and indoor air quality. Between graduate programs, he also worked as an engineering consultant and LEED Accredited Professional to develop and implement sustainable building metrics.