CenturyLink’s voice switch consolidation effort has a green side: energy savings

CenturyLink headquarters
CenturyLink is making progress in reducing carbon footprint by consolidating large swaths of its aging voice network infrastructure. (CenturyLink)

CenturyLink’s ongoing voice switch consolidation has enabled the service provider to reduce annual kilowatt hour usage by 21.8 million in 2017.

This effort, which is part of a broader companywide initiative to reduce emissions, resulted in an EPA-estimated reduction of 12,066 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

For its Colorado Switch Grooming Pilot Project, CenturyLink worked to reduce the energy needed to run its voice network, for example. This was accomplished by migrating lines and trunks from underutilized equipment to other equipment and then removing the underused equipment.

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As a result, CenturyLink reduced the power needed to keep the voice network operating and cool other equipment still being used to provide services.

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Based on the early success of its Colorado project, CenturyLink launched its Top 50 5ESS Grooms Switch Consolidation Program. Leveraging a 200-employee team from across a wide range of organizations, the telco worked to reduce power consumption in 50 additional voice switches.

The 50 5ESS program involved consolidating working lines and trunks into less equipment to power down switch modules in 48 5ESS end offices as well as collapse two 5ESS offices into other offices.

Additionally, the removal of common power supply unit cards from unused transport shelves enabled additional energy savings.

Besides consolidating its network facilities, CenturyLink has revamped its vehicle fleet by partnering with Kansas City Power & Light to install three Level 2 ChargePoint dual electric car charging stations at CenturyLink office in New Century, Kansas. The stations continue to provide charging for up to six electric cars simultaneously.

The telco also installed two dual-port ChargePoint electric charging stations at the former Level 3 Communications office in Broomfield, Colorado. CenturyLink said these two stations have delivered 7,661 charging sessions, avoiding an estimated 2.9 tons of carbon emissions.

Outside of the U.S., CenturyLink is making efforts to reduce its carbon footprint in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). In 2016, CenturyLink purchased 192,793 MWhs of renewable-sourced zero carbon electricity, which led to electrical power supply contracts in 2017 that were all based on renewable energy sources.