“The world’s best last chance to get climate change under control” is how this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP), the annual meeting of members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has been described.
The 26th meeting of COP (COP26), which includes climate experts, campaigners, policymakers, and world leaders, takes place in Scotland between 1 and 12 November 2021 and has identified four key objectives that need to be addressed:
- To secure global net-zero emissions by 2050, keeping the 1.5-degree global warming limit within reach. This target was identified, agreed and fixed by members in the 2015 Paris agreement
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats around the world, to improve their resilience against climate change
- To mobilize finance through developed countries delivering on the promise to raise $100bn in climate finance per year to support developing countries
- To work together to agree on, deliver and rise to the challenges of climate change.
Such ambitious goals will require concerted collaboration between governments, businesses, and society as a whole to be successful.
The Role of Business In Reaching Climate Change Goals
The active participation and adoption of measures by businesses are seen as key factors in the battle against climate change and this focus has led to a 47% increase, during 2021, of major companies signing up to the United Nations’ ‘Race to Zero’ campaign.
The Race to Zero requires a commitment by members to halve their carbon emissions by 2030 and to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. So far 4,468 businesses and 221 investors have joined the “Race” worldwide
For companies to be able to make such a fundamental commitment to carbon emission reduction, they must have a true understanding of their current energy usage, potential energy efficiencies, and sustainability. This is where Internet of Things (IoT) sensors play a significant role.
Business Climate Goals & Sensor Technology
Traditional sensors were bulky, expensive, and difficult to install. But as technology has evolved, best-in-class sensors have become unobtrusive, simple to deploy, and most importantly, cost-effective.
Sensors are becoming smaller, more secure, and with a longer life expectancy and can be used to collect different types of information remotely, including data on:
- Ambient and asset temperature & humidity
- Room and desk occupancy
- Water leaks and floods
Data collected from wireless sensors is stored centrally, often in the cloud, can usually be accessed from anywhere in the world, and then processed using an analytics engine to generate critically important reports.
These provide a business with valuable insight into its current energy consumption. Over time, thanks to this awareness, businesses can identify the impact that behavioral changes have on their own energy usage and efficiency.
Energy Optimization & Business Climate Goals
Deploying sensors allows a business to quickly establish their energy baseline and identify energy inefficiencies within, for example, their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. HVAC systems usually account for around 35% of an entire building’s power usage.
Solutions to typical issues that can be identified via sensor data analysis include replacing old windows with energy-conserving windows, using high-efficiency heat pumps to eliminate the use of refrigerants, improving building insulation, and the use of effective thermostats for temperature management.
Sensor solutions are also used to optimize lighting, the second most energy-hungry technology in a building. Many organizations have already replaced traditional lights with LED technology, but the adoption of sensor-based lighting control to automatically turn lights on or off based on human presence can result in significant energy savings.
Being autonomous, some of these solutions are effective 24 hours a day, for services such as cleaning, building security, out-of-hours IT services, and building system maintenance.
Sustainability & Business Climate Goals
Sustainability is another key focus for COP26. Deploying environmentally-friendly sensors that have a long lifespan, are reliable, credible, and are themselves energy efficient all contribute to delivering a sustainable environment and contributing to the fight against climate change.
Asset management is the basis for streamlining internal planning and processes, protecting the existing investment, cutting waste, and minimizing potential losses from theft. Installing robust and easy to attach sensors on existing company resources such as machinery, computers, and furniture contributes to a business being sustainable with no rip and replace necessary. This leads to energy savings and eliminates the e-waste generated from discarding old technology.
Most sensor solutions can be autonomous, cloud-based, and remotely managed, reducing unnecessary travel for onsite system inspection, testing, and maintenance, cutting both energy consumption and environmental pollution.
Water damage can also be a source of business downtime and disruption. Deploying water detecting sensors helps businesses to identify water leaks before they adversely affect the company, consequently avoiding unnecessary energy consumption, travel, pollution, and the costs associated with repairs and replacements.
Finally, sensors also provide a wide range of key data that is essential to employee well-being, necessary for a sustainable and healthy workforce. For example, temperature management ensures a pleasant and optimal working environment, minimizing health issues linked to wide temperature fluctuations. Temperature & humidity sensors placed on walls help indicate the energy performance of heating and AC systems and optimize ambient temperature, cutting energy-related costs.
Small changes in behavior make a big difference when it comes to sustainability.
There is now consensus that changes need to be made jointly by the government, businesses, and the general public to combat global warming. The objectives of the COP26, together with the Race to Zero, can only be achieved by using advanced technology, real data, and changes to both professional and private lifestyles.
Deployment of intelligent and cost-efficient sensor solutions enables organizations to gather valuable insights into energy usage, both short term, and long term, and allows them to change their business models to meet the challenging targets of energy efficiency and sustainability that have been set.
This will move them, and the world, towards the required net-zero carbon emissions in as short a time as possible.