The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Verizon signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that could lead to the development of innovative ways to reduce energy use in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

Through this first-of-its-kind agreement between an ICT company and a Department of Energy national laboratory, NREL’s work with Verizon could produce a blueprint for energy-efficient operations in one of the most energy-intensive industries in the world on a square-foot basis. Verizon will advance its goals to become more efficient in its own operations and provide customers with intelligent efficiency solutions.

“Innovation and application of energy-saving technologies in a way that makes sense in the marketplace are vital to improving the nation’s economy and environment. NREL’s collaboration with Verizon offers a variety of possibilities for using clean energy and improving energy efficiency in a large and meaningful way,” said Dan Arvizu, NREL director.

NREL and Verizon will share expertise and resources in several areas under the MOU, including energy efficiency and management at Verizon’s buildings, facilities and data centers. They will also share expertise in the advancement of smart grid technologies and best practices, including energy and communication technologies in homes and buildings.

“Verizon has taken significant steps in becoming a greener, more energy-efficient company,” said James Gowen, chief sustainability officer, Verizon. “By partnering with one of the top science and technology labs in the world, we’ll be able to achieve even greater efficiencies in a cost-effective fashion.”

The ICT industry consumes 3 percent of U.S. electricity. NREL views the application of digital intelligence in the operation of offices and data centers offers a significant opportunity to save money and energy and reduce environmental impact.