University of Oulu

The impact of multi-location work on reaching carbon neutrality objectives : the carbon footprint of ICT equipment use at the University of Oulu

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Author: Javid, Mohammad Amin1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Environmental Engineering
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Pages: 106
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Javid, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-21
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Pongracz, Eva
Kiehle, Julia
Reviewer: Pongracz, Eva
Kiehle, Julia


This thesis project aimed to quantify the impact of multi-location work on the carbon footprint of the University of Oulu by conducting a survey and monitoring the electricity consumption of ICT equipment. The work presents the concept of carbon neutrality, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol quantifying carbon emissions. In addition, global decarbonization commitments and the pledges of higher education sector are introduced. Furthermore, a benchmarking of decarbonization actions of higher education institutes was done, reviewing 29 case studies. The scopes of emissions considered in their carbon footprint were reviewed, as well as their chosen mitigation methods.

The effect of multi-location work on Higher Education Institutions and especially its impacts on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are presented. The carbon footprint of ICT equipment, the internet, and their calculation methods are also illustrated. In addition, a survey was conducted among the staff of the University of Oulu, to collect data about the various types of ICT equipment that staff use on-campus, in their home office, and those being carried in-between these two workplaces. The survey also uncovered information about the staff’s ICT equipment usage habits. In addition, electricity consumption monitoring of laptops and monitors was done to increase the accuracy of the carbon footprint calculation.

The results achieved from electricity consumption monitoring of ICT equipment demonstrate that the electricity consumption of laptops during meeting hours is approximately 2.5 times higher than the electricity consumption during regular work. Further, when leaving the laptop on and not using it, it could consume almost as much as using it on a regular basis. On the other hand, putting the laptop in sleep mode consumes only 17% electricity compared with when it is left on and not used. Furthermore, it was also found out that the laptop would consume up to 65% more when the VPN is on. The staff survey also revealed that, on average, staff would prefer working three days from home per week. This would indicate a 36% increase of the carbon footprint of the ICT equipment.

It is expected that the results of this work will help raising awareness and change habits regarding ICT equipment usage, in order to contribute to the carbon mitigation goals of the University of Oulu.

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Copyright information: © Mohammad Amin Javid, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.