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Blog

Platform.sh is now using annual carbon intensities from Electricity Maps

green
30 May, 2023
Alicia Bevilacqua
Alicia Bevilacqua
Environmental, Social and Governance Intern in General & Admin

Platform.sh remains committed to carbon intensity transparency

One of the value propositions of Platform.sh 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 Platform.sh is committed to displaying the carbon intensities (g CO2eq/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. 

In May 2023, Platform.sh changed its carbon intensity source of data

Until now, Platform.sh was using the carbon intensity data from the International Energy Agency (IEA for 2020) for its regions. As we are committed to providing you with the most up to date carbon intensities for our public regions, Platform.sh decided in May 2023 to use the annual carbon intensities from 2022 Electricity Maps (EM).  Below is a table of the carbon intensity values that were used previously and those we will be using going forward.

    Data exposed by Platform.sh (20 April 2022- 11 May 2023)Data exposed by Platform.sh (12 May 2023 -)
Platform.sh's region_idCloud providercloud_regionCloud_region_name (location)2020 IEA carbon intensity (g CO2eq/kWh)2022 EM carbon intensity (g CO2eq/kWh)
de-2.platform.shGoogle Cloudeurope-west3Frankfurt (Frankfurt, DE)

520

481

eu-5.platform.shAmazon Web Serviceseu-north-1Europe North (Stockholm, SE)

62

24

fr-3.platform.shOVHCloudgra7France (Gravelines, FR)

58

102

fr-4.platform.shMicrosoft AzurefrancecentralFrance Central (Paris, FR)

58

102

uk-1.platform.shGoogle Cloudeurope-west2UK (London, UK)

350

247

eu.platform.sh (legacy), eu-2.platform.sh, eu-4.platform.shAmazon Web Serviceseu-west-1Europe West (Dublin, IE)

482

447

fr-1.platform.shOrangeorangeOrange (Issy les Moulineaux, FR)

58

102

us.platform.sh (legacy) , us-2.platform.shAmazon Web Servicesus-east-1US East (Ashburn, Virginia, USA)

514

431

us-3.platform.shMicrosoft Azurewestus2West US 2 (Quincy, Washington, USA)

24

37

us-4.platform.shGoogle Cloudus-east1South Carolina (Charleston, SC, USA)

480

619

ca-1.platform.shAmazon Web Servicesca-central-1Canada (Quebec, CA)

27

28

au-2.platform.shMicrosoft AzureaustraliaeastAustralia East (Sydney, AU)

867

586

au.platform.shAmazon Web Servicesap-southeast-2Asia Pacific (Sydney, AU)

867

586

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 IEA. When calculating the carbon intensities (g CO2/kWh), the IEA states that it uses emission factors that use the 2006 IPCC Guidelines whereas Electricity Maps applies a more recent methodology outlined in 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). 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. 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 are 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 plans to use EM as the source of our carbon intensities going forward. 

If you want to learn more, take a look at our greener hosting webpage, browse our blog articles, or contact our team

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

Sources:

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Platform.sh is now using annual carbon intensities from Electricity Maps

Platform.sh is now using annual carbon intensities from Electricity Maps

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