9 Standards for a More Sustainable Future in Honor of Earth Day

These guidelines aim to increase the use of renewable energy, improve efficiency, and reduce environmental impact

3 min read
A lightbulb planted in the ground.
Photo-illustration: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTE From climate change and pollution to the depletion of energy resources, the global community is faced with how to address environmental issues.

One way is by developing technical standards for sustainable development and fostering their adoption in the marketplace. Standards are crucial in advancing technology to encourage environmental protection and helping businesses and individuals achieve a more sustainable future.

In honor of Earth Day on 22 April, here is a selection of IEEE standards that can contribute to sustainable development.


IEEE 1547, Standard for Interconnection and Interoperability of Distributed Energy Resources With Associated Electric Power Systems Interfaces—This widely adopted standard defines technical specifications among power systems and distributed energy resources of every type including wind, solar, battery-storage, and electric vehicles.

IEEE 2030, Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation With the Electric Power System (EPS), End-Use Applications, and Loads—This first all-encompassing IEEE standard on smart-grid interoperability provides a road map for developing a suite of standards based on cross-cutting technical disciplines in power applications, information exchange, and control through communications.


IEEE 1801, Standard for Design and Verification of Low-Power, Energy-Aware Electronic Systems—This standard is intended to enhance and improve the management and control of the energy use of devices such as power-hungry servers in data centers and devices that contribute to the Internet of Things. IEEE 1801 also provides a method for specifying the concepts and information required for the specification and validation, implementation and verification, and modeling and analysis of power-managed systems.

IEEE 1888, Standard for Ubiquitous Green Community Control Network Protocol—The standard specifies data links between devices and systems for developing digital communities based on interconnected networking infrastructure. IEEE 1888 also aims to enable the integration of multiple facilities, their data storage needs, and application services—such as energy savings, environmental monitoring, and alarm systems—allowing facility operators to manage the systems remotely.

IEEE P1922.1, Draft IEEE Standard for a Method for Calculating Anticipated Emissions Caused by Virtual Machine Migration and Placement—Virtual machines can be migrated between distributed physical servers in different geographical regions. The migration, however, could alter the new electric grid’s greenhouse-gas and particle emissions as it adapts its power generation capacity. The purpose of this standard is to assess the anticipated emissions caused by a virtual machine migration prior to the move, in order to minimize its effect.

IEEE 1922.2, Standard for a Method to Calculate Near Real-Time Emissions of Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure—Power generation sources constantly change to adapt capacity to demand in real time. This standard specifies rules for near real-time calculation of pollutant emissions allocated to the use of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure to provide the most accurate data.

IEEE P1923.1, Draft Standard for Computation of Energy Efficiency Upper Bound for Apparatus Processing Communication Signal Waveforms—Achieving high-bandwidth efficiency and maximum energy efficiency has not been well understood. That’s why IEEE P1923.1 is being developed to evaluate the potential use of communication signal waveforms for energy efficiency.

IEEE P1924.1, Draft Recommended Practice for Developing Energy-Efficient Power-Proportional Digital Architectures—Reducing the power consumption of digital devices when they are in idle mode and in transition to an on state at logic switching speeds would substantially reduce their energy consumption as well as their operating costs. IEEE P1924.1 aims to provide guidelines on how to build power-proportional digital architectures in which energy is consumed only when computational work is underway.


IEEE 1680,1 Standard for Environmental and Social Responsibility Assessment of Computers and Displays—This standard specifies a set of criteria to quantify the environmental performance of electronic products. It has been expanded into a family of standards that addresses computers and imaging equipment including scanners, fax machines, and televisions.


Whether you are looking to contribute to sustainable development as an individual or on behalf of your organization, learn about opportunities to help theIEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) raise the world’s standards to protect the planet.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

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