It has been clear to us from the beginning that our biggest opportunity to improve sustainability is by increasing the productivity and energy efficiency of our content delivery network, while decarbonizing the energy consumption.

Reduce Network Energy

Maximizing Server Efficiency and Productivity, and Decarbonize Energy Use

Akamai's network operations currently represent more than 90% of our overall environmental footprint in terms of energy consumption, carbon emissions and electronic waste. Our initiatives are focused on maximizing network efficiency and productivity, and decarbonizing its energy. To hold ourselves accountable, we have a commitment to annually reduce our network energy and GHG intensity relative to traffic 30% year-over-year, and by 2020, procure renewable energy for 50% of our global network operations.

Akamai Network Sustainability Performance

As a result of our efforts to innovate around network productivity and efficiency, our absolute energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions have decoupled from our network traffic growth, flattening even as our traffic continues to grow exponentially.

Decoupling Carbon and Energy Impacts from Business Growth

Total Energy
Total Carbon
Peak Traffic
Annual energy and carbon intensity reduction target:
# of Servers
# of Countries
# of Networks

Drag the grey marker across the map to view YoY energy and carbon intensity reduction by Akamai.

Network Carbon & Energy Efficiency

Continuous innovation in hardware, management and code efficiency since 2009 have resulted in a 90% reduction in energy and carbon emissions intensity, relative to network traffic. This despite a more than twenty-fold increase in traffic in the same timeframe.

GHG Intensity
Energy Intensity
Normalized Peak Traffic

Drag the grey marker across the map to view YoY energy and carbon intensity reduction by Akamai.

Energy and Productivity Initiatives

We have energy and productivity initiatives in place that have the potential to achieve significant efficiency improvements, including:

Code Optimizations

  • Identifying and rewriting inefficient code to increase the capacity of our network without adding more servers
  • Implementing code enhancements and new infrastructure architecture to streamline intra-network data transfer
  • Improving power proportionality of servers, including minimizing CPU power consumption and fan speed during idle periods.

Hardware and Infrastructure Optimizations

  • Deploying less expensive, custom-designed servers that maximize performance per Watt
  • Virtualizing server development and SQA testing labs
  • Virtualizing production environment
  • Redesigning server rack architecture to maximize utilization of power

Process Optimizations

  • Improving server management, such as quickly identifying and decommissioning or repurposing disabled servers

Decarbonizing Our Energy

While we’ve been very successful in decoupling our business growth from energy use and carbon emission impacts, we will always consume energy, and our carbon remains tightly coupled with energy. So decarbonizing this energy is a critical step along our journey to mitigate our environmental impacts. This highlights the importance of procuring renewables to offset carbon-intensive, grid electricity. To achieve this, Akamai has committed to reducing our GHG emissions below 2015 levels by procuring renewable energy to cover 50% of our global network operations by 2020.

In May 2017, Akamai completed its first investment in an 80 MW wind farm project, near Dallas, Texas, targeted to go online in December 2018. Renewable energy procured through a 20-year virtual power purchase agreement is expected to cover 100% of Akamai’s Texas data center load, and approximately 10% of its global network load. You can learn more about this project here.

More information about our decarbonization initiative is available here.

Network Data Center Supply Chain Initiatives

Another major component of Akamai's carbon footprint is the energy consumption from our third-party data center collocation providers that house Akamai content delivery servers. Ancillary services provided by these vendors such as cooling and power redundancy adds significant power consumption on top of actual server power utilization, increasing total power consumption and carbon emissions. Furthermore, while energy efficiency is a key mechanism to decrease our carbon footprint, our network will always consume energy. Therefore, decarbonizing the electricity used by these collocation data centers is also an important focus. We are engaging with our collocation data center providers, both directly and as part of the BSR Future of Internet Power working group, to pursue increased energy efficiency and decarbonization of their data center energy.

Akamai annually conducts a sustainability survey of our collocation data centers, tracking KPI's such as Power Usage Effectiveness, Carbon Usage Effectiveness, Water Usage Effectivenessi, integration of renewable energy and environmental sustainability management practices. We use these metrics to more accurately quantify Akamai's network supply chain sustainability impacts and monitor the year-to-year progress of these facilities. We also compile and distribute an annual benchmark report to show our collocation partners their performance relative to their peers, and to positively influence them to adopt best practices and improve performance.

iThese KPI’s were developed as an industry standard by The Green Grid.