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How IoT is Being Used to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

According to NASA, carbon dioxide (CO2) comprises 411 ppm of the Earth’s atmosphere as of July 2019. Because CO2 is a greenhouse gas that traps heat, there is a strong correlation between the amount of CO2 contained in the earth’s atmosphere and climate; the more CO2 there is in Earth’s atmosphere, the hotter it gets.

In recent years, human activity—including deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels—has caused the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere to skyrocket. Climate change caused by rising CO2 levels is a major concern for world governments, conservationists, scientists, and those of us who take climate research seriously. The effects of climate change will impact our lives and wellbeing, and the actions we take today to address CO2 emissions could determine the fate of future generations of life on this planet.

Reducing CO2 emissions is going to take an enormous, collaborative effort on behalf of every person, business, and government. According to EPA.gov, the largest emitters of CO2 are:

  • Transportation | 29%
  • Electricity Production | 28%
  • Industry | 22%
  • Commercial & Residential | 12%
  • Agricultural | 9%

Despite the fact that all five of these contributors are necessary for the livelihood of millions, there is still hope to curb emissions by exploring efficient ways to use and source energy.

Many Internet of Things (IoT) devices rely on electricity to run, but there are some devices that harvest their own energy. Both IoT and AI present new opportunities that may help us utilize energy storage, maximize energy efficiency, and lower our overall carbon emissions as a planet.

Smart Grids: Energy Storage & Forecasting that Reduces Carbon Emissions    

According to the National Academy of Sciences, the United States gets roughly 81% of its total energy from burning fossil fuels. One of the major reasons that renewable energy has yet to take off in the United States, or globally for that matter, is that it is still difficult to store energy from renewable sources. IoT has the potential to transition energy grids to be powered by renewable sources like wind and solar power through smart metering and forecasting. By transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, major cities can more than half their emissions of carbon dioxide.

On top of cleaner sources of electricity, IoT can also enable energy HVAC automation in buildings, which is one of the key drivers of global electricity demand according to the International Energy Agency. Smart HVAC systems can effectively regulate temperature in large buildings, keeping track of occupancy and other factors to maximize energy efficiency.

IoT Enabled Public & Green Transportation   

Not only does IoT make it easier to monitor and create rechargeable vehicles that don’t rely on combustion, it also makes it easier to scale public transit. The more people that use public transit, the less individual vehicles there will be on the road that either need to use electricity or still run on combustible fossil fuels that emit CO2.

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is one of the most exciting end-goals for IoT and public transit. With MaaS, commuters and long-distance travelers alike can map out their journey to find the most effective way to get from point A to point B. MaaS works by using IoT to connect a variety of public transit, rideshare, and even self-powered options like bicycles.

Carbon Capture

While the above solutions focus on limiting CO2 emissions by transitioning to new technologies, carbon capture is a way to get rid of carbon dioxide that already exists within the atmosphere. CarbFix is one such solution that aims to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and turn it back into minerals that can be reused for energy purposes. IoT monitoring and automation systems could help scale carbon capture programs to a point where they may feasibly undo the damage already caused by CO2 emissions within the past century.

Building a Better World with Aeris     

At Aeris, we believe in the power of IoT to do good. Whether we’re providing connectivity to non-profits, governments, or enterprise level deployments, we strive for secure, reliable connectivity options. Our Aeris Mobility Platform helps organizations build and scale IoT applications with ease.

How can you make the world a better place with Aeris? Contact us, let us know, and let’s get connected.