Wirepas Wirepas Blog 4 ways in which IoT can help reduce carbon emissions

October 17, 2018

4 ways in which IoT can help reduce carbon emissions

By Sebastian Linko

Climate change is threatening not only our way of living, it is threatening our existence. It has already made a saddening amount of species on our planet extinct. Only arrogance could make us think we are any different from other animals if the planet turns against us – or if we turn the planet against ourselves.

United Nations report published a week ago told us that we would need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next 12 years. In order not to depress you too much, the report also stated that it’s not too late yet and that we have the tools and means to affect the climate change. The needed changes affect industry, energy, infrastructure – and yes, individual behaviour.

All of this got me thinking about what we do as Wirepas. We are in the business of helping companies, cities and even countries to connect physical objects, assets and things wirelessly. I am not naïve - for most of the use cases, such as smart lighting or asset tracking, the main motivation for digitalization is either improved cost efficiency or new revenues. But there are collateral benefits in connecting things and deploying digital processes. Let me list four ways in which digitalization helps to reduce carbon emissions and consequently help in limiting global warming.

  • Smart electricity meters – By deploying smart and connected electricity meters we as consumers get more data of our energy usage and can optimize the cost of electricity by, as an example running our washing machines when the electricity is the cheapest. At the same time the utility companies would be able balance the load on the grid more evenly.
  • Connecting Renewable Energy Resources – Connecting generation and storage equipment at the edge of the grid brings the opportunity to introduce renewable energy systems and utilize storage systems such as batteries to help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and even allow for peer to peer energy trading.
  • Building Utilization – by using sensors that understand the utilization of buildings facility managers can deploy systems to optimize the heating, cooling and lighting usage according to the actual environmental conditions and peoples needs. This results in considerable energy savings and better quality of air and light.
  • Managing assets – A large amount of global carbon emissions are connected to logistics – in air, on land and at sea. By connecting containers, pallets and actual parcels would help to optimize the streams of goods. A one percentage of efficiency improvement in global logistics means gigantic savings in terms of money and at the same time in carbon emissions.

These are just four simple examples how connected things and digitized processes help saving money and reduce carbon emissions. When it comes to energy efficiency our devices and processes are still quite primitive. This is evident in the speed of progress with which we have improved during the last two or three decades. That means to me that we have only just begun. The big picture is that by connecting things, we can learn more about the physical world around us, and by algorithms we are to make our human made processes more adaptable to changes – and more energy efficient.

This is not to say that technology can do it all. We clearly need political decisions that support companies in adapting new technologies and processes, we need individuals to change their habits and we need companies that want to lead the pack. We are proud to be working with an ecosystem of innovative companies building these solutions for buildings, cities, industry and energy.

 

By  Sebastian Linko, Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Investor Relations at Wirepas