How Technology is Helping to Drive Sustainability
The relationship between technology and development has always been a constant, and technology is no different when it comes to driving sustainable development. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain are among the most “hyped-up” of the bunch. Other powerful technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and energy storage are already at the forefront, making the world more sustainable by the minute.
Internet of Things (IoT)
According to McKinsey, IoT is one of the three most impactful technological advancements we will see before 2030. By 2025, the IoT’s economic impact will be around $11.1 trillion, a whopping 14% of today’s global GDP.
At its core, IoT is about connecting and remotely controlling previously unconnected “things”. This makes the sustainability applications virtually endless. From trackable devices that allow manufacturers to efficiently service equipment remotely, to intelligent buildings that allow building owners to understand and optimize energy consumption in real-time, similar to the Naya ESP.
The Circular Economy
Perhaps the most macro-impact of the IoT technology is its potential to facilitate a circular economy. A circular economy is a system in which resources are repurposed and products are designed for reuse at the end of their lifecycle. When resources and capital goods re-enter the system instead of being discarded, it can save production costs and significantly decreases waste. When this circular economy model and IoT are combined, internet-connected devices gather and relay data to central computers. This, in turn, makes efficiency skyrocket.
An analysis by the World Economic Forum, of over 640 IoT deployments, showed that 84% of existing IoT deployments can address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The top three categories being:
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure (25%)
- Smart cities and communities (19%)
- Affordable and clean energy (19%)
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality has been a hot topic for years, but is only now arriving in full force. The two most prominent applications for VR technology are in the social and sustainability worlds. PwC, for example, is using VR to “see” the sustainable future. A VR robot guides you through a city of the future with robots, self-driving cars, drones, personalized advertisements, and 3D-printed buildings.
In another example, the non-profit Charity: Water is using virtual reality to “literally put donors in the moment that water strikes and how people are celebrating the change in their village.” Cases like these help to draw empathy, allowing the more advanced world to experience conditions that we normally take for granted – like clean water and safe living conditions.
While battery storage is nothing new, the way that companies are implementing it on a massive scale is quite impressive. The main benefit of battery storage lies in its ability to smooth out the energy spikes that result from inconsistent solar and wind production. Energy storage can add significant value to a company’s bottom line, while mitigating risk and increasing efficiency.
The Environmental Defense Fund commissioned a new survey around corporate sustainability and environmental impact. The survey shows that 86% of corporate executives (with $500M+ annual revenue) believe that emerging technologies will help their bottom line while improving their environmental impact.
No longer is sustainability something that’s just “nice” for a company to have. It has become an integral part of strategic decision-making that streamlines operations, increases performance, and reduces costs. In fact, over 70% of business leaders see greater alignment between business and environmental goals than they did five years ago.
How To Leverage Sustainable Technology
If you’re interested in sustainable technology, but you aren’t sure which option(s) would be best suited for your needs, Naya Energy will help guide you in choosing sustainable initiatives that best align with your business goals and budget, Naya Energy has the expertise to guide you through the plethora of sustainable technologies, and the partnerships to make them happen.
Written by Naya Contributor Baylie Depp