Structuring a sustainable future: how network infrastructure is sustainable from the factory floor to final installation

Typically, when we think of sustainable choices in infrastructure, we think of small slices of an industry’s value chain utilising sustainable practices, such as construction projects using recyclable building materials like salvaged steel or concrete, or HVAC and utilities system installations installing more efficient appliances. Networking products are unique in that they can be sustainable throughout every stage of its value chain, from manufacture to network solution design, installation, and future planning.

From the outset, network infrastructure manufacturers can integrate sustainability practices into each stage of the product lifecycle. Products can be designed to reduce job site waste, they can be made in efficient factories with local and responsibly sourced raw materials, before being consolidated into recycled packaging and transported through consolidated means to the job site.

Upon install, sustainably designed products reduce job site waste. Pre-terminated fiber and copper trunk cables create very little product packaging or termination waste at the job site. Also, since these are factory terminated, waste is easily contained and recycled, and there is no termination scrap material created at the jobsite.

Also, smarter network solution design utilises less materials and enables higher efficiency for the network itself. For example, Leviton offers smaller cabling solutions and higher-density systems that reduce the amount of used materials and conserves space. Array cables with 12- or 24-fiber MPO / MTP™ connectors reduce the amount of cable jacketing materials by employing fewer cables, fewer breakout pigtails, and less bundling material. A smaller diameter cable or patch cord is particularly helpful in data centres, as it improves airflow in racks and cabinets, allowing for superior cooling and less overall energy consumption. Smaller cables may also avoid the need for additional cable trays and associated mounting materials, reducing the total amount of product needed to complete the deployment.

Network infrastructure can be planned with future upgrades in mind. Planning for future upgrades lengthens the longevity of all installed infrastructure. The right solutions and designs can significantly extend the lifecycle of a structured cabling system, creating a more environmentally responsible network that doesn’t need to be fully replaced as network needs change.

One of the most salient examples of network solutions enabling future planning is in smart buildings. Efficiently designed network solutions allow networks in smart buildings to be poised to accept the growing number of IoT devices, essentially enabling growth in sustainable applications like smart lighting systems, efficient HVAC systems, and more. By designing networks to enable sustainability, the network itself continually functions to limit operational emissions in buildings, lengthening its useful life.

To enable smart buildings to run efficiently, Leviton produces innovations in network architecture, like the uLAN™. As building systems like HVAC, lighting, security, communications, and consumer applications converge onto a smart building’s core LAN (Local Area Network), the network is burdened by every additional connection, adding stress to the network. The utility LAN, or uLAN, is a network architecture which enables greater efficiency in smart buildings, allowing them to cut operational emissions. Learn more about the uLAN and Leviton connectivity here.

Kennedy Miller is technology & sustainability manager at Leviton Network Solutions

This article was written as part of a paid content partnership with Leviton.


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