Tackling today’s climate goals with IoT

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Netherlands needs to get its act together regarding its climate goals. This is now clear as the climate plans become more concrete and ambitious. By 2030, the Netherlands wants to emit 49% fewer greenhouse gases than we did in 1990. By 2050, this should be almost 100% percent. All sectors must participate. Industry, agriculture, transport, but also Dutch homeowners, office owners as well as housing cooperatives. Worldwide, 43% of all energy is consumed by buildings, and a lot of that is needlessly wasted. By making buildings more sustainable and removing as many as possible from gas, you can save a lot of energy and therefore money, while at the same time contributing to the climate goals.

Energy wasters

In office buildings, a lot of energy is needlessly lost because lights and air conditioning are often on unnecessarily. You probably know this situation yourself. Meeting rooms where the daytime temperature is always 20 degrees or more, yet nobody is using the room. Or the air conditioning that is cooling an entire building while the staff is outside having lunch. The reason, of course, is simple. As long as you don’t know when, or if there is someone in a room who needs a warm heater or a cool air conditioner, you can’t control it very well. That’s where IoT can make a difference.

Making the building sustainable

In the meantime, quite a few innovative ideas have already been developed about how to make buildings ‘smart’ and sustainable. For example, Microsoft’s new offices at Schiphol have a system whereby you can tell which workplaces are available. Not only is this useful to see if there is still room available, but you can also use the system to fill the different floors as effectively as possible. First the ground floor, then the first, then the second, etc. You can then use this data to make the climate systems more effective. If there are no people on the second floor, there is no need for air conditioning, heating etc.

Your own climate bubble

While this all sounds like a good start, the potential is much greater. Carlo Rotti, director of the SENSEable lab and MIT professor, used sensors and IoT to measure electricity consumption, humidity, temperature, CO2 and capacity utilisation, among other things. By combining all this data, you can continuously create a perfect ‘climate bubble’ for the people in the office. So, you’re not just turning the heating on or off when someone comes in, but also set it to the perfect temperature, with the right humidity and oxygen content in the air. This makes for better working conditions and also helps fight against (corona) infections, while at the same time offering extreme energy efficiency. You can also make the system adapts automatically when more people sit in space, which is a great bonus if you know what it’s like being packed in a room without good ventilation! You can read more about this in this Dutch article by futurologist Richard van Hooijdonk.

Why not?

In short, making buildings ‘smart’ is a win-win situation where you save money on energy costs while at the same time contributing a big role in reducing your emissions as a company. The question, of course, is why aren’t all companies queuing up to transform their office into an IoT wonderland?

IoT is tricky

The reason for this is very likely that many companies want it, yet do not know where to start. IoT is a new field of work with which few people really know how to deal with it. Compare it a bit to the cloud in its early days; the vast majority of companies are now working with it in one way or another, but until a few years ago events about ‘whether or not to go to the cloud and when’ packed halls.

IoT challenges

IoT needs its unique approach because it has its peculiarities. For example, you often have to install and update devices individually (quite a job if you have 1000 per office) and of course there is a question about the security of all that data. What if someone can hack into the building and demand a ransom to turn the stove back on? What you need as a business is the same as what you needed for the cloud before: a reliable way to get started. For many companies, that’s now Microsoft with Office 365 and Teams. For IoT, LINKIT hopes to become this in collaboration with Microsoft and T-Mobile.

How to make IoT accessible

As a solution we have designed Hive. A partial SaaS solution with which you can easily link large amounts of IoT in one platform. The data is stored and managed securely in the customer’s own cloud environment. From an optional portal, you can then easily give commands to all your IoT devices. This can be done per piece, all at the same time, or per group (e.g. one floor). By offering an IoT working environment ready-made, we remove a lot of technical barriers and pave the way for a future in which IoT can play a bigger, and greener role. More information about Hive you can find at our Hive product page.

Do you want to know more about how IoT can make your office ‘smart’? Please contact Dick van Straten, our IoT Lead at LINKIT, for more information and a demo.

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