The internet of things is now part of our everyday lives – home assistants, parking sensors, smartwatches and smart plugs are all connected within the IoT. However, these instances are only a microcosm of what the IoT can do, and what it is being used for on a global scale, from smart cities to driverless cars.
Here, we’re going to look at one of the more surprising areas that IoT is influencing – the fight against climate change. The advancement of device interconnectivity means that this technology can be used to slow the effects of climate change and help the world work towards its net-zero targets. Here’s how IoT can help combat climate change.
One of the main ways that IoT can help combat climate change is by improving the world’s energy efficiency. On an individual level, IoT technologies such as smart thermostats, lightbulbs and plugs are helping households to better manage their personal energy usage, but on a larger scale, companies are investing in IoT-driven technologies that help to enable green technologies and renewable energy sources.
Such solutions mean that green microgrids can be automatically activated with no downtime when the main utility grid stops working or isn’t available. This technology has already been employed at hospitals and military depots. At these sites, the energy usage can be monitored in real-time and provided with exactly the energy they require, minimising waste.
IoT has even been used to optimise the energy output and reduce the GHG emissions of coal-fired power plants, such as in the case of General Electric. GE installed sensors that transmit data in real-time that can be used by the operators to understand and optimise the plant’s performance. An EDF Energy Plant using this technology became the most efficient power plant on the globe.
Reduced road congestion and air pollution
IoT devices are also helping combat climate change by reducing road congestion. Connected sensors in smart cities can help reroute vehicle traffic and help drivers to quickly find parking spaces. Smart traffic management systems and navigation apps that help drivers avoid busy routes mean that the number of cars stuck in traffic, emitting exhaust fumes and releasing GHGs, has been reduced significantly. All of this results in the potential to reduce the carbon output of cities instantly.
Another way that IoT devices are helping to combat climate change is through their use in agriculture. Smart tech can monitor farm animals for changes in behaviour that indicate illness, allowing farmers to quickly treat them, meaning meat and dairy yield is improved. As dairy and meat farming are significant contributors of GHGs, any methods that can help to reduce their carbon footprint is sorely needed.
Smart tech can also be used to deliver precision agriculture to developing countries, to monitor and minimise the use of fertilisers, pesticides, and water where the overuse of resources has long been an issue.
IoT devices also have a role to play in monitoring countries’ compliance with carbon regulations and targets to reach net zero. Sensors that accurately measure air quality, for example, can help to accurately monitor the pollutants in certain areas and help governments to take appropriate action to reduce them. Having detailed, real-time data about our emissions makes it much easier to combat their causes.
These are just a few of the ways in which IoT can help combat climate change, but as IoT technologies receive further investment and continue to develop, it can be expected that interconnected devices will soon play an even greater role in reducing our carbon footprint.
If you would like to learn more about IoT, why not join the Easby Electronics and Telit webinar on June 22nd at 3pm (BST). Register now and receive a Free Charlie Kit!