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Upsun is using annual carbon intensities from Electricity Maps

sustainability
15 February 2024
Alicia Bevilacqua
Alicia Bevilacqua
Environmental, Social, and Governance Intern

Upsun remains committed to carbon intensity transparency

One of the value propositions of Upsun is to offer greener hosting. By choosing cloud hosting instead of on-premise hosting, you are selecting a greener way to host your applications and websites. In addition, when creating a project, you have the option to choose the greenest region to host it.

How? Because Upsun is committed to greener hosting by displaying the carbon intensities (gCO2eq/kWh) of the different data centers it proposes so that you can make the best-informed decisions concerning your projects’ digital carbon footprint.

Due to the power source of the underlying electricity grid, the electricity used to operate the data center has a specific carbon intensity. This means that for a specific project (Y), the amount of electricity will be the same, but the carbon footprint, measured in gCO2eq, of a project will vary by location. This is the location-based approach that the Greenhouse Gas Protocol specifies for certified carbon audits.

Our chosen source of data for carbon intensity

Upsun is powered by Platform.sh who, since May 2023, decided to use the annual carbon intensities from 2022 Electricity Maps (EM) to support greener hosting—and Upsun is no different. Below you can find a table of the carbon intensity values that were used for Platform.sh previously and those we will be using going forward. These carbon intensity values going forward will also be applied to Upsun.

 Data exposed by Platform.sh (12 May 2023 -1 Feb 2024)Data exposed by Platform.sh (2 Feb 2024-)
Platform.sh's region_id
Cloud provider
Cloud_region_name (location)
2022 EM carbon intensity (g CO2eq/kWh)2023 EM carbon intensity (g CO2eq/kWh)
de-2.platform.sh
Google Cloud
Frankfurt (Frankfurt, DE)
481416
eu-5.platform.sh*
Amazon Web Services
Europe North (Stockholm, SE)
2423
fr-3.platform.sh*
OVHCloud
France (Gravelines, FR)
10259
fr-4.platform.sh*
Microsoft Azure
France Central (Paris, FR)
10259
uk-1.platform.sh
Google Cloud
UK (London, UK)
247200
eu-2.platform.sh
Amazon Web Services
Europe West (Dublin, IE)
447386
us.platform.sh (1) , us-2.platform.sh
Amazon Web Services
US East (Ashburn, Virginia, USA)
431396
us-3.platform.sh*
Microsoft Azure
West US 2 (Quincy, Washington, USA)
3756
us-4.platform.sh
Google Cloud
South Carolina (Charleston, SC, USA)
619647
ca-1.platform.sh*
Amazon Web Services
Canada (Quebec, CA)
2831
au-2.platform.sh
Microsoft Azure
Australia East (Sydney, AU)
586545
au.platform.sh
Amazon Web Services
Asia Pacific (Sydney, AU)
586545
ch-1.platform.sh*†
Google Cloud
Zurich, Switzerland
 91

*Greener region
†Added this datacenter 1 February 2024

Why the change from 2020 IEA to 2022 Electricity Maps data?

Several reasons led us to choose the Electricity Maps (EM) carbon intensity data instead of that from the International Energy Agency (IEA) to align with our commitment to sustainability and greener hosting practices. When calculating the carbon intensities (g CO2/kWh), the IEA states that it uses emission factors that use the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines whereas EM applies a more recent methodology outlined in the IPCC 2014 Fifth Assessment Report. As the IPCC update represents the scientific consensus of peer-reviewed published studies, we consider it to be more accurate.

Additionally, EM also uses some zone-specific emission factors for the EU and the US, with data coming respectively from the European Commission and the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), further supporting greener hosting efforts. Regarding the United States, every year the EPA publishes the Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database, called eGRID. The eGRID data include generation, emissions, and other attributes for nearly all power plants in the US. For Europe, the European Commission publishes yearly verified emissions and allocations for all installations included in the EU-ETS, the EU Emissions Trading System.

Finally, EM is also using some direct emission factors coming from peer-reviewed scientific papers, or meta-analysis sources. So in addition to using a more recent methodology, EM supplements its data with additional sources when possible, enhancing our commitment to greener hosting solutions. From this, we conclude that the EM data are more accurate than the IEA ones.

In addition to a commitment to refining their work, EM is committed to an open-source approach (here’s the GitHub repository) and making their historical data available for free, stating, “This will remove barriers for companies trying to be at the forefront of granular carbon accounting.”

For all these reasons, Platform.sh and Upsun plan to use EM as the source of our carbon intensities going forward.

The author would like to thank Leah Goldfarb, Sabri Helal, and Deniz Evrard for their contributions to this article.

Sources:

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