As the threat of climate change grows more urgent, sustainability becomes a more pressing concern for companies of all sorts. This issue doesn’t just matter to businesses, either. More than half of consumers are likely to buy sustainable products, and 31% of customers will go out of the way to do so.
Technology serves to make our lives easier, but it may also be the key to protecting the environment. Technological advances in recent years have made sustainable living more viable than ever.
From big-picture, sweeping changes to everyday adjustments, here are 10 ways technology is revolutionising sustainability.
1. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the growing network of internet-connected devices in our lives today. One of the key advantages of the IoT is the ability to monitor all your devices’ activity. This function is where it can help sustainability.
Using IoT-enabled appliances can help cut down energy waste. You can set lights and air conditioning or heating units to turn off automatically after a specific time, or shut them off remotely while you’re away. The IoT can also help companies track and then improve the lifecycle of their products.
2. Energy Storage
Batteries are nothing new, but they are getting far more efficient. In the past, energy sources like solar power have been ineffective due to the challenges that come with storing the energy they generate. Modern battery systems such as Tesla’s Powerwall make it possible for people and businesses to store and use power in a much less wasteful manner.
3. Big Data Analytics
Big data is central to online marketing, but it has several uses for improving sustainability, as well. By collecting and analyzing large pools of data, companies can grow more informed about environmental concerns.
Companies can look at their energy usage and use big data to highlight areas where they can improve efficiency. These insights can also provide businesses with a robust picture of their overall ecological impact and calculate possible environmental risks.
4. Meat Alternatives
Animal agriculture accounts for roughly 14.5% of human emissions worldwide. Lowering our meat intake can significantly reduce pollution, and technology can help with that.
Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are producing plant-based meat substitutes. These replacements will help transition people into a more sustainable diet without having to eat salads for every meal.
5. Hygiene Surveys
Technology is making it easier to conduct important health and safety surveys. Survey programs such as SMARTouch allow businesses to asses their hygiene, air quality and similar environmental concerns quickly, safely and accurately. This data will, in turn, help them improve their environmental impact.
6. Interactive Mapping
One of the most crucial factors in addressing climate change is raising awareness. Interactive, engaging maps of areas hit hardest by global warming can help make people in more temperate regions understand the severity of climate change.
7. Indoor Farming
Agriculture takes up a lot of land, but it doesn’t have to. Indoor farms are more efficient than traditional ones and don’t use nearly as much land, reducing habitat destruction.
Using climate control technology, indoor farms can produce seasonal crops all year. As the population increases, this versatility could prove vital. People will always need agriculture, but we are running out of space.
8. Alternative Energy
Alternative energy isn’t just for businesses anymore. Solar panels used to be expensive and inefficient, but they are becoming increasingly affordable. Nowadays, solar power is a viable option for many households, if not as their primary power source, then as an auxiliary to help become less dependent on energy companies.
9. Precision Agriculture
Indoor farms are not the only form of agriculture benefiting from technology. Precision agriculture involves using technology to make farming practices more accurate and controlled.
From harvesting vehicles to sensors in irrigation systems, precision agriculture helps farmers get the most out of their crops. This accuracy can significantly reduce waste and increase yields.
10. Electric Vehicles
Much like with solar panels, older electric cars were impractical and overpriced. However, with advances in automotive technology, electric vehicles are now a perfectly viable option. Manufacturers like Tesla and BMW are not only making electric cars more efficient, but also more affordable. As time goes on, these technologies will only grow cheaper and more effective.
A Sustainable Future
Technology that’s focused on sustainability is now the cornerstone of many industries, and will continue to improve the way business is conducted well into the future.