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net zero goals
Sermersooq, Greenland | Image Credit: Google

Climate change is no longer merely a theoretical concept taught in schools & universities. It’s real, and it’s here. Both governments and businesses are pushing themselves to achieve net zero emissions and sustainability. The pressure to reduce harmful emissions is not coming only from legislators but also from consumers, who are starting to choose more sustainable products & services. Consumers are becoming more aware of and have clear preferences for environmentally responsible brands.

While the COP26 in Glasgow made significant progress in elevating international aspirations and moving the major provisions of the Paris Agreement forward, significant gaps still remain. National emission-reduction pledges for 2030 and 2050 fall far short of the 1.5°C target, and many nations & businesses lack the necessary proof of delivery.

Net zero emission is achieved when a unit, be it a business or a nation or the entire world for that matter, neutralizes its carbon footprint in the environment. The primary source of carbon emissions is energy generation through fossil fuel combustion. One option to move closer to net-zero is to switch to renewable energy sources completely; another is to offset carbon emissions through indirect means such as planting trees or other indirect and often inconsequential activities. These are difficult to adopt approaches that necessitate long-term planning and disruptive modifications in the unit’s operation. However, reducing overall energy consumption by eliminating energy wastage, which will reduce the energy demand of such units, is a more realistic low-hanging fruit.

In addition to strong government efforts, private sector leadership is required to accelerate such climate actions. An accelerated net-zero shift will put traditional business models to test while also providing opportunities for early adopters. In fact, early adopters are already redefining the game for their industries – and beyond – while gaining sources of competitive advantage. Climate leaders attract and retain better talent, expand more quickly, save costs, reduce regulatory risk, obtain cost-effective financing, and create new sources of value for customers. If done correctly, this will result in higher shareholder returns as well as a long-term competitive advantage.

According to a survey done by Forum for the Future, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to lessen the adverse consequences of climate change in the future. According to the survey, 98% of business leaders believe that the Internet of Things is already helping to create a more sustainable future. However, just half of them are actually utilizing it to do so. It’s time for business leaders to leverage IoT in order to achieve net-zero goals and move towards a more sustainable future.

How can IoT drive businesses towards sustainability?

According to an IEA report, buildings account for nearly one-third of global final energy consumption and 55% of global electricity demand. Buildings have had exceptionally rapid growth in electricity demand over the last 25 years, accounting for roughly 60% of total global electricity consumption growth. In India, electricity demand in buildings grew on average by more than 8% per year over the last decade. However, buildings have the greatest potential for substantial energy savings (~10%) and thereby reductions in GHG emissions by leveraging IoT-powered asset and energy management solutions.

IoT based energy & asset management solutions provide energy monitoring & controls for built infrastructure. Visibility alone can enable businesses to understand what energy they use, how they use it, and, most importantly, how they could consume it more efficiently. Controlling via automation, on the other hand, helps in achieving energy efficiency via optimal use of building assets and equipment. IoT-based building automation eliminates unnecessary runtime of assets & equipment like HVAC, lighting, refrigeration etc., through scheduling and modulation, resulting in direct energy savings. IoT also enables predictive maintenance, ensuring that the building assets & equipment are running in optimal condition, resulting in maximum energy efficiency. Such visibility and automation lead to reduction of annual energy usage by up to 10%. As a result, IoT-based building management solutions not only reduce carbon emissions, but also increase business profitability.

While technology has historically hampered environmental sustainability efforts, it has now evolved into an ally in the quest for a greener planet. With the introduction of IoT, individuals, corporations, and governments can now migrate to more energy-efficient practices, use resources more responsibly, and structure operations in ways that eliminate waste.

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