How we can use technology to enhance and preserve sustainable energy
Technology was not previously thought of as environmentally friendly. In fact, some technology has shown to cause harm to our environment, such as pollution and waste caused by manufacturing technology and disposal of old computers and tech hardware. Whilst this is still happening, the advancement and innovation of technology means that we can also use technology to preserve sustainable energy.
So, what are some of these technologies helping us with energy conservation?
The ability to analyse large complex sets of data is now possible thanks to advancements of tools. Data-driven methods are heavily used and embedded in smart city technology to help us identify and combat environmental issues and preserve energy consumption. Big data can help organizations gain insight into sustainability levels at a macro and micro level and from a customer perspective, it can help us understand what needs to be done to enhance energy saving.
Thanks to Internet of Things (IoT), not only can you connect devices together, but you can now access real-time analytics to help you make smarter decisions. Data insights from devices such as smart energy monitors, smart lightbulbs and smart thermostats can be monitored remotely and can help us to control our energy consumption.
By combining data insights with home automation technology, we can greatly benefit from programmed power downs to stop household appliances wasting energy and to reduce the costs of bills.
Solar Technology is the conversion of energy from the sunlight into electricity. To increase the use of renewable energy (RE), in 2018 the HK government set up the FiT (Feed-in Tariff) Scheme & RE Certificates¹. This enables residents who install solar photovoltaic (PV) or wind systems at their premises to sell RE they generate to the power companies at a rate as high as about five times more than the normal electricity tariff rate. With solar power becoming a part of our everyday lives, solar technology has advanced into various applications²:
- Solar powered roads are used to light roads at night as well as to generate clean energy. This tech is currently being tested in America and it even includes thermal heating technology to help melt snow during winter weather to avoid road accidents.
- Floating solar farms can generate huge amounts of electricity without using valuable land and can generate up to 10% more in power production due to the cooling effect of water.
- Generate your own energy with Solar fabric. With solar radiation everywhere on the planet, tiny solar panels stitched into the fabric of clothing can help you preserve energy on the go with added benefits such as keeping you warmer and/or power up your phone.
A microgrid is essentially a small-scale power grid that can operate independently or collaboratively with other small power grids. With solar power becoming more affordable, many microgrids now operate using solar plus battery storage, thus creating clean energy to generate electricity for the size of local communities. In the case of power outages, microgrids can function independently from the main grid source by using recycled electricity and provide emergency power for those at high risk such as hospitals. Effective microgrids are essentially the building blocks to a Smart Grid, which will eventually allow for reliability, availability, economic savings and environmental conservation of energy.