August 6, 2012
By Amy Maclean
SCTE recently released its first two standards for energy management
, focused on best practices for building new facilities or updating existing ones and defining common environmental and sustainability requirements for equipment within those facilities. But the work is far from over. SCTE’s Sustainability Management Subcommittee is hard at work on further standards and specifications.
“We’re clocking in at 16-17 [potential initiatives] right now,” said Derek DiGiacomo, dir, information systems and energy management for SCTE and head of SCTE's Smart Energy Management Initiative.
Actively underway is a standard on measurement, dubbed “0004.” “Now that we’ve come up with some of the green standards, how are we evaluating that, what metrics are we all going to use for cable plants. Is it traditional homes passed? There’s a variety of metrics we use, but we want some consistency,” said Dan Cooper, Time Warner Cable vp, critical infrastructure and chmn of SCTE's Sustainability Management Subcommittee.
The 0004 initiative is already about 75% complete. “We’re making great progress there. Vendors and MSO providers have been very supportive of all these standard developments,” said DiGiacomo.
Not as far along, but also in progress is a standard or protocol that would allow for adaptive power. For example, when a piece of network equipment is turned on today, it doesn’t matter if 3 people are using the equipment or 100 people—it will run at 100% power. “We want to come up with a protocol that will allow the various devices in our network to speak to each other and we could vary how much power they’re drawing based on needs and requirements versus just flipping a switch and turning them on at 100%,” said Cooper. “It’s a pretty interesting topic, and it’s going to take a little time to gel together.”
As for why SCTE went with 184 and 186 as the first standards it released, Cooper said it boils down to focusing on facilities first. “A lot of the initial discussions we had were about our buildings and making them more energy efficient,” he said. “First, it’s understanding the configurations and designs of the buildings themselves, and then getting into specific detail on the types of equipment that goes into the buildings and making it more energy efficient.”
Meanwhile, CableLabs and NCTA continue to work on improving the amount of energy set-tops use. The six largest MSOs have committed to deploying digital set-tops with a “light sleep” mode that should offer energy savings of 20% or more.