Environmental Assessment of Hybrid Broadband Satellite Systems

Environmental Assessment of Hybrid Broadband Satellite Systems

Keith Dickerson (Climate Associates, UK), David Faulkner (Climate Associates, UK), Nigel Wall (Climate Associates, UK), and Simon Watts (Avanti Communications Group, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8447-8.ch008
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


This chapter describes the environmental assessment of hybrid broadband satellite systems using the latest lifecycle analysis (LCA) techniques. The BATS (Broadband Access via integrated Terrestrial and Satellite systems) project has based its assessments on the GHG Protocol approach, with the ETSI LCA and ITU-T L.1400 methodology series used to provide more detailed guidance where this is needed. This assessment has shown that it is possible to employ cut off rules and approximations to reduce the cost or length of an assessment and still provide useful results. The assessment has shown that, using current technology for the IUG and satellite modem, the carbon footprint of a hybrid broadband satellite network can be comparable with that of a terrestrial (fixed or mobile) network for an equivalent level of service when the use of low-power states are considered. The implementation of these states in future commercial systems should be explored. Finally ways are suggested to reduce the environmental impact of hybrid broadband satellite systems, in particular by reducing energy (power) consumption during the use stage. Key issues include how to compare the energy efficiency of a hybrid broadband satellite network with other methods of broadband delivery, how to accurately assess the carbon embodied during the production of the equipment, and how to use low-power modes to reduce energy consumption without affecting the response time or quality of experience (QoE).
Chapter Preview


At the international level, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the request of governments. The aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to:

  • Human-induced climate change,

  • The impacts of human-induced climate change,

  • Options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC reports on the likely impacts on the environment of the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. Reports are issued approximately 4-5 yearly using existing peer-reviewed scientific papers as source material.

The Kyoto Protocol supported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty that sets binding obligations on industrialized countries to reduce emissions of GHGs, as shown in Figure 1. The ultimate goal is to stabilize the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere at a level which avoids catastrophic consequences.

Figure 1.

How future GHG emissions could be reduced if all countries operated under the Kyoto Protocol


The European Union (EU) is included as a party with binding targets in the second commitment period 2013-2020. EU Member States have committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20%, increasing the share of renewable in the EU's energy mix to 20%, and achieving a 20% energy efficiency target by 2020. The EU was 8% below 1990 emissions in 2012 and still has a long way to go to meeting these targets. The European Roadmap for Moving to a Competitive Low Carbon Economy in 2050 (EU, 2050) notes that the EU is currently on track to meet two of those targets, but will not meet its energy efficiency target unless further efforts are made. In Mobilizing Information and Communication Technologies to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy (EU COM, 2009) the EC notes that “The use of ICT equipment in the delivery of services represents about 1.75% of carbon emissions in Europe; a further 0.25% of carbon emissions come from the production of ICT and consumer electronic equipment. As the range and penetration of ICTs increase, their overall energy use is growing”.

In line with this policy landscape, the EU has issued a number of directives to foster energy efficient design of products:

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: