The Internet of Things has become the lifeblood of the drive to net-zero emissions. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that the combination of green technology and renewable energy is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to sustainable transformation, and this is increasingly being recognized by global business leaders.
Huge business properties such as factories, massive warehouses, nationwide stores tend to consume energy in pretty unsustainable ways. Assets staying on when they don’t need to be, unnecessary over-performance, lights turned on in naturally bright rooms, etc. However, some businesses have copped on to the new Industrial Revolution 4.0. Or at least historically, they have done.
That basically translates to the age of IoT. By connecting all of their ‘things,’ businesses are essentially turning their facilities into smart facilities, meaning that they can monitor absolutely all of the data from their assets and, as a result, manage their energy usage and efficiency like never before. I’m no mathematician, but the formula is more efficient + less consumption = more carbon neutrality.
According to a report by Ericsson, IoT could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 63.5 gigatons, or 15 percent, across all industrial sectors by 2030.
Using IoT to Achieve CSR Goals
Corporate social responsibility goals have become a much bigger obligation in recent years, now that we’ve taken the health of the entire planet more seriously (looking back on it, it does seem a bit daft that we didn’t before). So sustainable operations have been, quite rightly, bumped up the business priority list.
A few elements at play here: net-zero 2050, sustainable development goals, and the CSR goals of individual businesses are all helping perpetuate environmentally friendly business activity. One of the key pillars holding up these three hugely influential decision-making factors is energy consumption and, more importantly, its reduction.
How Does IoT Affect Efficiency and Sustainability?
While working at Hark, I’ve been in the atmosphere of some really transformative IoT projects and had the pleasure of seeing, in real-time, how sensors, gateways, and intuitive software can really positively impact sustainability.
Allow me to break down some of the common solutions:
Energy Consumption Monitoring
Having real-time visibility of power-consuming assets in a single system is a total game-changer. It provides insight into misbehaving assets (i.e., ones that are over-consuming), areas that require maintenance, comparisons in how different facilities are performing, and much more. The visual aspect of using custom dashboards means that reporting and making effective changes is miles easier when using a toolkit like The Hark Platform (whoops, shameless plug).
Remote Asset Performance Monitoring
Fairly similar to the above, this solution is a tool to help spot anomalies in cost and asset operation. Remote asset performance monitoring works best with alerts and notifications to help managers prioritize their asset maintenance.
There are a few really magical things about this, the first being that almost any variable can be monitored. Temperature? Sure. Location? Yep. Energy use? Duh. Internal/external lighting? Yes, even that. So many things can be monitored, therefore meaning you can completely optimize how your estate runs.
If you don’t understand how; try this example:
Your factory in Surrey looks to be consuming way more energy than your other UK factories, and you’re wondering, ‘what’s the craic?’. Upon checking, you see that your Surrey lighting rigs have been left on for three years straight instead of being turned off at night! It’s cost you an absolute bomb and emitted lots of wasted carbon, but now that you’ve found the source of the issue, you can nip it in the bud and reduce that unnecessary usage. By monitoring indoor and outdoor light, you can automatically turn lighting rigs on and off at the necessary times for maximum efficiency.
Avoiding downtime while increasing overall equipment effectiveness by monitoring assets, spotting anomalies, and pre-emptively taking action. This pretty much comes off of the back of remote asset performance monitoring. It’s simple, really: by monitoring how an asset currently is performing, we can forecast how it will run in the future.
These forecasts are done on what we call digital twins – a digital representation of a real asset, which allows you to estimate when maintenance might need doing, when failures are likely to occur, when energy might be over-consumed, and so on.
These solutions and more are the screws and nails of smart facilities and ultimately will be a must-have in the future. Already the benefits of reducing wasted carbon within corporate facilities are being felt, not only by the environment but by businesses who are savings heaps of money on energy and asset bills.
Disclaimer: I’m still not a mathematician, but…
Less energy spent + less maintenance + longer asset life = more savings and fewer emissions.
That adds up, right?
Ultimately the reason why businesses are using IoT to achieve sustainability targets is this: it is easy. Not only is it easy to implement, but it pays off by reducing costs so drastically. Facts are facts: IoT reduces waste, reduces costs, improves efficiency, and helps save our planet. There’s not a whole lot more to it than that.