By Sanjeev Verma
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “The future is green energy, sustainability, renewable energy.” Education and awareness of the many revolutionary innovations, implementations, applications are key in ensuring a green future. Small and medium-sized business (SMB) are our ticket to ensure widespread use of the same. They are collectively the largest employers of the US, and are unfortunately, uninformed of their energy waste and exorbitant costs incurred. According to the EIA, a 5,000-square-foot facility uses 70% more energy per square foot than a 25,000-square-foot facility. Some 30% of that cost is wasted energy, according to Energy Star.
Wastage: Reality of the Hour
Most SMB leaders are ignorant of the immense wastage of energy resources in their premises. The invoice is sent straight to their account team. Browsed through as a tally during the annual audit, the crucial information of high costs is not shared with those who can ensure corrective measures. This overpayment on energy multiplied by the sheer number of small businesses across the country results in an astounding sum. While still in its infancy as organizations, their sustainability comes under the hammer due to the extravagant expenditures incurred. To curb this blatant disregard many SMBs are now opening their doors and minds to green energy solutions. This golden opportunity to ensure energy management is booming and shall continue to grow in coming years. This growth is not going to be limited to utilities.
Efficiency: Need of the Hour
If the government statistics are to be believed, 70% of the startups pay more in electric utilities than corporations! When taken in to perspective, the huge number of startups is inversely proportional to massive billing. There are many detailed priorities of small businesses and start up facilities. Hence, there is often zero to nil effort from their end in the automation of energy usage. Also, many a times, the cost incurred of the installment of a smart solution is a daunting task.
In order to make changes, there are many solutions that are available. Seamless end-to-end IT choreography supports intelligent operations and improves business process execution. They can be customized to achieve speciﬁc business objectives. For ensuring lasting changes for energy management, IoT solutions are a boon. They help one be alert of any energy wastage on a premise. Additionally, they can be tailor made according to one’s discretion.
In order for one to prevent energy from being wasted, there are a few key features that need to be kept in mind. Let’s begin with the basics:
- The ABC: Ensure that the staff knows the value of the resources at their disposal. They need to strictly switch off their computers at the end of the day. Additional care needs to be taken on weekends. All electronics that are not required for any rendering or communication (e.g. Fax machine) need to be switched off. This has been taught in kindergarten along with the ABCs. Gentle reminders over corporate email ids too go a long way.
- Government Investments: One needs to be abreast of the many government sanctions that are provided to small businesses and startups. In order to increase opportunities for small businesses to succeed, the government provides them with grants, offers multiple options as facilities and also helps them regulate their consumption. According to 2016 data from Thomson Reuters, as analyzed by Dr. Richard Florida and the Martin Prosperity Institute, between 75-80% of America’s venture capital and early stage investment in high-growth startups is invested on the East Coast and the West Coast .
- Advanced Data Analysis: One of the smart solutions with which one can control the rampant wastage of energy consumption lies through IoT. One of IoT’s real value is the data it provides. This data is driven in real time. A detailed trend analysis is an efficient tool in energy management. It monitors departments, which have the most and least energy consumption in the premises. It keeps an eye on the patterns and notifies the leads of the departments as and when the consumption rises or drops drastically. Through advanced data analytics and AI, one can predict the future energy needs and the total energy usage and the associated cost.
- Equipment Efficiency Analysis: IoT helps empowers startups and small businesses in energy management by informing when a machine was active and when it wasn’t. One can be alerted if a machine is not working when it is supposed to be active and vice-versa. Data ingestion from sensors, helps control the energy supply as well. One of the energy sensors senses the Overall Equipment availability (OEA). This helps one ensure that the capital investment in machinery is being availed and there is no loss of potential production.
- Green, Solar Utilization: The many high-tech gizmos and systems integrated demand a high cost and consumption of energy as a resource. With negligible chances of saving costs due to indoors and outdoors consumption, green and Solar-energy systems is the only answer. It allows one to capture free sunlight and convert it into usable power in one’s home and offices. A clean solution, solar energy can be used to heat and cool a premise with almost no impact on the global climate. The businesses can know what percentage of their energy consumption were from the renewable sources and how to maximize it?
Startups and small businesses have limited amount to sustain themselves. Hence, it is prudent that they pinch their penny and focus on ensuring optimum use of their resources. One of the money pits is energy management and many a startup have failed due to the blatant disregard of this resource. The above mentioned are few of the practical and doable solutions that shall help them in the long run. Implementation of the same needs to be proactive, organized, and systematically coordinated.
Sanjeev Verma is the founder of Biz4Intellia, one of the leading IoT development companies in USA. He is extremely passionate about the Internet of Things and keeps on exploring the possibilities unleashed by IoT on a constant note. At Biz4Intellia, his concrete focus on building a rapid growing, market-driven organization that delivers influential enterprise IoT solutions, is simply unmatchable!