Cox's Power Play

CTO Kevin Hart Outlines Game Plan to Chop Company's Carbon Footprint by 20%

Cox Communications chief technology officer Kevin Hart outlined a multi-pronged game plan to help the MSO's parent company, Cox Enterprises, shrink its carbon footprint by 20 percent as the keynoter at  this week's Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers SEMI (Smart Energy Management Initiative) Forum in Atlanta.

The company launched its national sustainability program, called Cox Conserves, in 2007, with an emphasis on alternative energy, natural resource conservation and general eco-friendly behavior.  Hart presented several examples of how Cox is trying to meet this voluntary obligation, including:

  • The use of reflective roofing and pavement materials at Cox's new CTech office in Sandy Springs, Ga.  The facility also employs "low-flow" fixtures that reduce water use by 37%, and has enacted a plan that has resulted in 95% recycling of construction debris.
  • Cox estimates that its use of a GPS system has saved more than 1 million gallons of fuel and a reduction of 25 million pounds of CO2 emissions.
  • The freestanding canopy solar array at the Cox Enterprises headquarters has generated about 140,000 KWh of energy, reducing carbon emissions by 94 tons and providing shade for employees' vehicles.

"The programs that Kevin Hart outlined this morning are clear evidence of the strides the industry is taking to adopt and embrace sustainability that ultimately adds value," SCTE senior director of information systems and energy management programs Derek GiGiacomo said, in a statement.

As last year's SEMI Forum keynoter in Philadelphia, Comcast SVP of strategic planning Mark Coblitz stressed that the cable industry must begin to address its power consumption requirements, or face a future in which its electricity needs outstrip the supply. The cable industry "cannot always be assured of a sufficient and reliable supply of local available power," he said. 

Cable operators are starting to deliver some services, such as the DVR, from the cloud, a move that will reduce home energy consumption but likewise transfer some of that energy stress to the cable network. 

Policies for set-top power consumption have been a hot political potato this week. In comments to the Department of Energy, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association urged the DOE to stop ignoring a "landmark" set-top efficiency agreement between the Consumer Electronics Association and several Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs), and not attempt to supplant market forces with its own standard. In separate comments, the American Cable Association, meanwhile, argued that the DOE's proposal that operators would be required to test their boxes would place an undue financial burden on the smaller, independent MSOs that the ACA represents.