Minimizing our Carbon Footprint with IoT

by | Feb 17, 2020

Interact put together an excellent overview summarizing how IoT solutions are available to help slow the course of climate change, and in particular, how IoT technologies are already available to be adopted and integrated to immediately decrease our carbon footprint and emissions. Moreover, these solutions can be integrated systemically by public and private entities, both individually and in collaboration, to restructure how our societies and industries can operate more efficiently at a global scale.

Through the use of energy-efficient LED lighting, we can develop city-wide digital lighting networks to enhance city efficiency, improve traffic through smarter routing, and create more efficient parking structures by integrating IoT-enabled digital canopies.

These “smart cities” can be further improved through the adoption of smart power grids, where electric utilities can be better monitored with smart meters. Smart meters also enable real-time, two-way communication between the consumers and utility companies allowing more efficient energy consumption, conservation, and generation by garnering a better and better understanding of the energy demands required. This can be further encouraged through incentive programs developed for consumers to encourage lowering their energy usage as well as giving more flexibility to both supply and demand. Additionally, we can begin to predict energy usage by understanding high-demand hours allowing us to work to adjust usage and store energy more efficiently. A report by Ericsson indicates that smart grids can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 3.9% by 2030.

Zooming in from the city scale to look at individual buildings, organizations like the World Green Building Council are working to ensure that all new buildings across the globe operate at net zero carbon. Their efforts focus on reducing buildings’ energy consumption, enforcing the generation of renewable energy on-site, and performing closed-loop measurement of carbon consumption and waste.

Outside of our cities and homes, various other industries can reap the benefits of IoT. Ericsson Research indicates that smart agriculture could add an additional 3% carbon reduction. Smart agriculture can integrate IoT solutions in an amazing number of different ways, ranging from precision agriculture to better cow monitoring. The world of IIoT at sea, particularly relating to monitoring and rerouting for oceanic cargo shipping, shows that it’s possible to reduce fuel consumption by up to 15% and improve overall fleet logistics.

IoT will play a major role in expanding our capacity for sustainability. Private and public organizations should be encouraged to adopt these technologies and not wait for the implementation of laws and regulations; these technologies are readily available and can help us make a difference now. There are already great efforts underway to develop a more holistic approach, including efforts to standardize an environmental sensor network, and the more we dive into and take advantage of these technologies, the better off we all will be.
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