The information and communication technology (ICT) sector is continuously growing, mainly due to the fast penetration of ICT into many areas of business and society. Growth is particularly high in the area of technologies and applications for communication networks, which can be used, among others, to optimize systems and processes. The ubiquitous application of ICT opens new perspectives and emphasizes the importance of understanding the complex interactions between ICT and other sectors. Complex and interacting heterogeneous systems can only properly be addressed by a holistic framework. Thermodynamic theory, and, in particular, the second law of thermodynamics, is a universally applicable tool to analyze flows of energy. Communication systems and their processes can be seen, similar to many other natural processes and systems, as dissipative transformations that level differences in energy density between participating subsystems and their surroundings. This paper shows how to apply thermodynamics to analyze energy flows through communication networks. Application of the second law of thermodynamics in the context of the Carnot heat engine is emphasized. The use of exergy-based lifecycle analysis to assess the sustainability of ICT systems is shown on an example of a radio access network.