Placed on – April 20, 2022

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Action with IoT

SDG

Being both creative and innovative in the way we imagine, think, decide and act is key to achieving the sustainable future we all want. In that sense, this year’s World Creativity and Innovation Day and its 2022 theme: “collaboration” gives us the opportunity to start a conversation and shed light on innovative ideas and technologies that will allow us to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and make the world a better place.

One of those innovative technologies with the potential to reduce our carbon footprint by one-third of the reduction required by 2030 —according to the World Economic Forum— is the Internet of Things (IoT). Through its transversal applicability across several industries, IoT can help us address several SDGs including, for example, SDG 9: “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” and more specifically target 9.4 which aims at “retrofitting industries to make them sustainable with increased resource-use efficiency”.

Through constant monitoring and real-time reporting of carbon-intense processes and activities, IoT can provide several industries with actionable data, thus helping decision-makers tailor specific interventions to find lasting solutions to current environmental challenges. In that sense, being part of the so-called exponential technologies, IoT devices, and applications open a range of new opportunities to achieve our sustainability commitments, including strengthening the call to the building and construction sector to create “Net Zero Carbon Buildings.”

Harnessing the exponential: one example.

Electricity drives our lifestyles. According to the World Resource Institute, 76% of our current worldwide CO2 emissions come from energy use (31.9% from heat and electricity). Out of that, 18.1% comes from the energy use in buildings (11.4% residential and 6.7% commercial). The good news? We do not have to give up our appliances to achieve our sustainability goals, but we do need to learn to use them in smarter ways. IoT can help us cut emissions while saving us money.

To make it more concrete, consider for example a residency complex built with solar panels or heat pumps aiming to achieve energy neutrality, thus trying to produce more energy throughout the year than the one it needs. Considering that the energy production of buildings is never exactly lined up with their energy use, a “storage” is needed (such as a big battery or an electricity net). And here is where the problem starts. Houses are living spaces: devices fail, configuration settings get unintentionally changed, we forget to close one window but turn on the heating at the same time; in short: the use of the house is often in conflict with the energy neutrality goal. IoT can help us manage and keep the correct energy usage to achieve the neutrality goal without affecting any comfort or quality of living. By putting some sensors in, providing data and information, and alerting us of any issues through something as simple as an app in our phone.

For those wanting to do more or are visionary managers in offices, it is possible to go even further than that. How about measuring humidity in a bathroom or air quality (CO2 concentrations) in common or meeting rooms? There would not be any need to have ventilation systems on all the time, just when really needed. In that sense, IoT is a supportive technology that can help us, among other things, to optimize our energy usage and thus decrease our carbon footprint.

As a technological innovation, IoT can only reach its full potential and achieve desired sustainability targets when effective collaboration is established between the people with the domain knowledge (e.g., construction company) of the industry, building or residential complex, and the IoT innovators (a savvy company that listens to their needs and input). This brings us back to the World Creativity and Innovation Day’s theme, as the collaboration efforts are central to achieving the intended outcome.

Let us walk the talk

The development and deployment of IoT is already making a substantial difference worldwide supporting people and collaborating with diverse industries to cut carbon emissions and advance the Sustainable Development Goals in several ingenious ways.

IoT devices and applications constitute innovative data sources that can effectively guide decision-making. However, as with every other innovation or new concept, it is hard to surpass existing barriers in industries or organizations that have been doing things the same way for a long time and are reluctant to change.

In this regard, IoT’s potential and benefit needs to be embraced and furthered by policymakers, decision-makers, implementors, and people in general. It needs to be welcomed, known, encouraged, and applied by many more before we can see the desired and needed decrease in our carbon footprint by 2030. We all need to start imagining, thinking, deciding and acting proactively towards sustainability and the world we want.

Do you already have sustainable development goals in mind? Just tell us the impact you want to have, and our team of experienced IoT innovators can collaborate with you to achieve your goals. To learn more about IoT solutions visit evalan.com or contact our experts at info@evalan.com to start addressing your ambitions directly.

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