At cities as biospheres we believe that disruptive solutions must go beyond data and analysis and collaborate with diverse professionals. That’s why we want to provide a platform where artists, designers, architects, and planners can collaborate and work on disruptive solutions to reduce carbon emissions. But still, data and analysis have an important role to play. Once these solutions are created, thinking about how to make them SMART could prove and improve their impact many times over. 

The THINGS conference in Amsterdam showed how easy sensor technology has become for anyone to access and how it can have a huge impact in helping us stay within our planetary boundaries. 

The conference displayed some of the 200+ types of sensors that can make any THING “SMART” and monitor its data in real-time. It is as simple as connecting a FITBIT to your phone to monitor your physical activities. 

Some ideas and solutions that came up during the conference that could have a massive impact in reducing carbon emissions in existing buildings:

  1. Nowildfire: Remote sensors are installed in forests in Turkey to detect wildfires within 15 sec of fire. High-rise buildings and urban heat islands trap wildfire smoke, making urban air even more toxic. Municipalities could use such a solution for early detection of stubble burning in farms in Indian northern plains. Stubble burning is the source of major gaseous pollutants, i.e., GHGS, NOx, SOx, and PM (PM10 and PM2.5), causing major human and environmental health issues. Approximately 63 Mt of crop stubble can emit CO (3.4 Mt), CO2 (91 Mt), CH4 (0.6 Mt), NOx (0.1 Mt), and PM (1.2 Mt) into the environment. According to NASA, Punjab rice farms burn about 7 to 8 million metric tons of leftover plant debris every year in October and November.
  • Enerthing and Thermokon: Thermal and other sensors for dynamic monitoring and services control for both new and existing buildings. SMART thermostats can switch the heating of a room off when it is empty. Enerthing says enerSENSE, a Cloud-based recording of temperatures and room occupancy, can reduce heating costs by 40% and carbon emissions by 30%. Further data analysis could also tell us if there is a need for further insulation in certain parts of the building.
  • SEEED: Open-source DIY platform for all sensing needs, allowing individuals and startups to build their sensors. SEEED has more than 200 sensors that can be connected to their BYO (build your own) device. Hundreds of companies and start-ups have leveraged SEEED’s services and used their open-source platform to build sustainable solutions. Some examples of start-ups that leveraged SEEED’s platform to reduce carbon emissions –
    • The BeagleBone® Green-based customization solution collects real-time data for residential and factory water, electricity, and gas usage. It transmits data to the cloud and local database for real-time and remote monitoring. It helps the administrator to optimize electricity/water/gas purchasing and distribution.
    • Lixo promotes a Circular Economy by Improving Waste Resource Traceability and Management.

Be it a building management company or the residents of the building, SMART devices can allow real-time decision-making. These simple to advanced plug-and-play devices can use them with little or no programming experience, allowing every inhabitant of urban cities to take simple steps to reduce their own carbon emissions and create micro-climates in their homes that allow healthier living. 

Why the latest boost in SMART technology?

Most new sensors utilize the LoRaWAN protocol, a Low Power Wide Area Networking (LPWAN) communication protocol that functions on LoRa. The LoRaWAN specification is open, so anyone can set up and operate a LoRa network. LoRa is a wireless audio frequency technology that operates in a license-free radio frequency spectrum. Essentially, it is the new age low-power technology to connect anything to the cloud at a fraction of the cost compared to GSM and GPS. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *