By Marc Johnson

Composing the Symphony of a Carbon-Negative Digital Future: The Green Scores Methodology

Filecoin Green
6 min readOct 2, 2023

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In a world orchestrated by digital innovation, the pressing call for environmental conservation plays a more significant part than ever before. The digital advancements, from data storage and crypto mining to machine learning applications and large language models (LLMs), have spurred deep conversations about sustainability. At Filecoin Green, we tune into these discussions with a keen ear, ready to play our part in the symphony of sustainability that is reshaping the digital age.

Our journey began a year ago with the creation of the Energy Validation Process (EVP), a comprehensive auditing mechanism orchestrated specifically for Filecoin Storage Providers. Through rigorous testing of the EVP across the Filecoin Network and the introduction of the Green Scores, we are poised to expand our methodology’s reach, embracing a broader spectrum of data storage, crypto mining operations, and AI applications.

Distinct from other methodologies, Green Scores stand apart by offering a more nuanced and comprehensive evaluation. Integrating a diverse array of metrics, including grid average and marginal emissions data, as well as hardware configuration information, this innovative approach facilitates a more accurate and dynamic representation of environmental impact. These Green Scores are not only a monumental leap forward but a reimagining of how we measure and embrace environmental responsibility.

A Symphony of Impact Assessment: The Green Scores Methodology

Beyond mere numerical values, Green Scores embody our unyielding commitment to sustainability, a reflection of efficiency, and a roadmap to a carbon-neutral future. The essence of this methodology lies in the intricate choreography of its individual steps. Each step offers a crucial piece of the puzzle, contributing vital insights that, when woven together, create a holistic overview of an entity’s environmental impact.

While the heart of Green Scores lies in three pivotal components — the Emissions Score, Location Score, and Confidence Score — the harmony resonates through every step of the methodology.

The Rhythm — ‘Emissions Score’

Our methodology’s rhythm is set by delving into an entity’s total Scope 2 emissions, examining the energy-related emissions stemming from their operations. By analyzing these emissions, we’re not just crunching numbers but unraveling the story of their environmental footprint. This narrative, carved from the analysis of emissions relative to data storage capacity and benchmarked against network averages, forms the essence of the Emissions Score.

A high Emissions Score is more than a statistic; it is a testament to an SP’s commitment to sustainability, reflecting their ability to manage operations with minimal environmental impact. It signifies that the SP is not only aware of the carbon footprint but is also taking significant strides in reducing it, positioning themselves as leaders in the drive towards a greener future.

The Melody — ‘Location Score’

The Location Score adds melody to our symphony, offering a nuanced portrayal of an SP’s influence on local power grid emissions, thereby painting a more nuanced picture of their environmental impact. Here, we differentiate between an SP’s ‘slice of the pie’ — their proportionate contribution to the total emissions from the power grid, which is addressed in the Emissions Score — and their ‘effect on the grid,’ a measure of how their operational choices can influence the broader grid emissions.

Understanding the ‘effect on the grid’ is essential as it encourages SPs to make informed decisions that not only reduce their environmental footprint but also contribute positively to the larger energy grid they are a part of. This fosters a sense of community responsibility, where each entity operates with an awareness of its potential impact on the overall ecosystem, striving to enact choices that foster a healthier, more sustainable environment.

To understand this better, imagine the grid as a living, breathing entity that responds dynamically to the demands placed upon it. The ‘effect on the grid’ evaluates the potential ripple effects caused by an SP’s operational choices, including energy sourcing and utilization efficiencies. It answers a vital question — ‘If an entity paused their operations, what change would this evoke on the overall grid emissions?’

Further, this score introduces the concept of ‘Marginal Emissions’, which pertains to the additional emissions generated with each unit of increased energy demand on the grid. It helps in assessing an SP’s marginal emissions efficiency compared to the network average, highlighting their role in shaping local environmental dynamics.

A robust Location Score not only showcases an SP’s commitment to sustainability but also signifies their proactive role in molding a healthier environmental future, underpinned by thoughtful energy choices that lessen adverse impacts on the grid.

The Timbre — ‘Confidence Score’

The Confidence Score forms the timbre of our methodology, symbolizing trust and reliability in the data provided by SPs. Grounded on a comprehensive matrix, this score evaluates a multitude of metrics ranging from location information to documentation and attestations, extending to the specifics of hardware configurations. A high Confidence Score signifies the level of data completeness and integrity, instilling trust and transparency in the Green Scores methodology.

The Confidence Score enables us to build a methodology that is both robust and credible, fostering confidence in the Green Scores as a reliable measure of environmental impact and efficiency. It stands as a testament to the robustness of the methodology, guaranteeing that our approach is rooted in accuracy and reliability, thus playing a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable digital future.

The Harmony of a Comprehensive Methodology

While the Emissions Score, Location Score, and Confidence Score shine as the methodological stars, every step is a note in this symphony of impact assessment. Each step of the methodology is a crucial building block, providing context and depth to the central scores. When combined, they create a holistic portrait of an entity’s environmental influence — its carbon footprint, emissions efficiency, and local impact. Taken together, these steps build into the Green Score, which range from 0 to 100, and reflect the energy efficiency and environmental impact of data storage and crypto mining operations, AI models, and machine learning applications.

Fine-Tuning Your Impact

When it comes to environmental sustainability, understanding your impact is just the prelude. The true symphony begins when you take conscious steps to fine-tune your impact, turning knowledge into action and fostering a greener digital future. As a Storage Provider, you are equipped with the tools to play a pivotal role in this transformative journey. Here are some key strategies to consider:

  • Procure Renewable Energy: power your operations with renewable energy sources. This conscious choice not only lowers your ‘slice of the emissions pie,’ but also resounds as a clear note of commitment to a greener future.
  • Invest in Energy Efficiency Measures: embrace energy efficiency solutions across your operations. By doing so, you’re not merely reducing your energy consumption but significantly diminishing your ‘effect on the grid,’ fostering a harmonious relationship with the environment.
  • Engage with Solution Providers: By utilizing services like Carbonara, you can increase the resolution of the data you provide. As grid emissions fluctuate throughout the day, providing improved data can help in creating a more accurate depiction of your impact, aiding in the meticulous crafting of your green score.

We believe that the journey to a sustainable future is a collaborative endeavor. We encourage SPs to engage with the community, share best practices, and forge partnerships that amplify the positive impact on our environment.

Furthermore, to understand the tangible effects of these actions and to visualize how they might influence your Green Score, we invite you to experiment with the interactive tool on our website. Discover the potential enhancements and witness the symphony of sustainability come alive, note by note. With our soon-to-be-released calculator at greenscores.xyz, you’ll be able to fine-tune your impact and become a maestro in the grand symphony of environmental sustainability.

A Promise for the Future

Our commitment doesn’t end with the Green Scores methodology. We’re dedicated to annual updates, driven by consultations with customer segments, market participants, and policy experts. Our goal is to ensure our methodology remains aligned with evolving sustainability reporting best practices. Moreover, we encourage participants to engage in demand response programs and contribute to grid stability, uniting our efforts for a sustainable digital ecosystem.

As we forge ahead, we invite you to delve deeper into our methodology. Not just as an outside observer, but as an active participant in this movement. We’ve made it open source and accessible on the Green Scores website, fostering a space for collaboration and innovation. Green Scores are not just numbers; they are the embodiment of our collective commitment to a greener future. Our journey has just begun, and we invite you to share your insights and work collaboratively to shape a sustainable landscape that balances innovation with environmental responsibility. Together, we are crafting a future where technology and nature harmonize in a grand, sustainable symphony.

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