The term, “Smart Technology” is becoming a regular part of conversation now. While it started out as a reference used to describe our cell phones, it is starting to mean so much more to all sectors of society, including businesses. In fact, for many companies it is a game changer.
The true meaning of the term “Smart Technology” is Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology, but what it really means is getting big performance improvements thanks to systems that can harness a combination of sensors, automated controls, modeling, monitoring systems and other decision-support applications in a highly intelligent way. Smart tech matters a lot. It matters because it could save a lot of companies that are desperate to cut costs. As recently pointed out by The British publication, The Guardian, smart energy technology is a “Power of good”.
Here’s a look at just a few examples of how smart technology can save companies money, reduce the need for building more power plants, decrease dependence on fossil fuel, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
• Chip response – did you know that a chip installed in a fridge can assess when energy demand is high and arrange for the fridge to switch off during that period? Supermarket chain’s fridges use a lot of energy to keep products cool, but don’t need to run 24 hours a day.
• Smart meters – smart meters can digitally send energy readings to your energy supplier or to you. Monitoring your energy use can help you adjust and keep it under control. During off hours, your factory may not need the same heating or cooling requirements so savings can be big.
• Battery storage – this type of technology is advancing quickly. It means electricity could be siphoned into a battery and as much as 80 percent released when needed. This makes wind and solar more efficient since we could store electricity for release when weather conditions are unfavourable. In the not-so-distant future, people will have solar panels that provide more energy than they need. A powerful battery will suck up excess electricity and hold enough backup power to last a day or longer.
• Electrochromic Smart Glass – this special glass can be controlled from a smartphone to darken or lighten a window. The idea is that you don’t need curtains or blinds and could save significant amounts of energy normally spent on cooling. There are hotels that use this smart glass.
• Energy Apps – A lot of companies already use apps to monitor projects and evaluate employee efficiency. There are also multiple apps available to monitor energy consumption, provide environmental guidance and product information, as well as estimator apps to calculate solar power energy. A lot of these apps are free.
• Smart harmonics – harmonic currents can have a significant impact on electrical systems and the facilities they feed, but now there are smart harmonics available to reduce harmonic currents.
• Intelligent fan and pumping systems – buildings account for a large percentage of energy consumed in both the United States and Canada and HVAC systems are a big part of that consumption. While HVAC means cooling, heating and ventilation, two of the primary applications that make up these technologies are pumps and fans. Manufacturers of pumps and fans are developing smarter products, as they know their customers want energy reduction.
This list is just the beginning of a host of options now available to companies and individuals. Energy auditors and sustainability experts insist that while the idea of implementing new technologies can seem daunting, the reality is that the savings on energy costs end up paying for many of the new smart technologies that are implemented.