Grid of connecting nodes on a screen. Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jason-samfield/7906765044/
Business 2.0, Sustainability

A (financially) sustainable internet of things (pt. 1)

I read with interest a recent post by, well… (ahem)… The Internet of Shit (herein IoS) that calls out the internet of things’ dirty little secret.

The article starts by making some (valid) points about the plethora of devices that are starting to emerge that are connected to the internet for no real purpose or value. Sure, they might be cute or novel (and sometimes that can help us rethink things or look at the everyday from a different perspective). But in a time of relative affluence, and declining wellbeing and environmental health, it begs real questions about value and the need for more crap.

But the crux of IoS’s argument runs a little deeper, looking more specifically at how internet of things (IoT) products are often only financially sustainable by “monetize the monotonous that was never even interesting to any at-scale business”. Continue reading

Lego minifig character holding the 'Ctrl' key from a laptop keyboard
Business 2.0, Design, Sustainability

Finding momentum towards urban energy savings

Implicit in my recent series of posts is that the structural barriers won’t or can’t be addressed. Of course, wins of this manner/magnitude can have huge flow-on effects. So working towards addressing these remains critical and important. For example, if:

  • New building stock had sustainability as a key criteria
  • Buildings had smart meters that provided timely data to residents
  • Open data became the norm for energy usage information (i.e. system interoperability, with due security measures to ensure privacy etc.) that enabled individuals to use a variety of toolsets or “migrate” their data between systems
  • Strata managers and owners’ corporations took active steps to make operations more efficient, save money, and introduce generation capacity where suitable
  • Residents are empowered to have a more active voice in moving strata managers and owners’ corporations to express their values, whether they be owners or renters

Then we would be in a much better place—literally.

However, regardless of if this is possible, it’s going to take time. And in the meantime, what can residents do? Do they just throw their arms in the air and say “I can’t do anything (meaningful)?” Or are their options that the can exercise? Continue reading

Man spinning fireworks in the dark
Sustainability

Resource Man’s adventures in household eco-visualisation

Recently I had some interstate travel that presented an opportunity to catch up on a (long) back catalogue of reading. There were three standouts that are related to the recent series of posts I’ve been writing on energy monitoring and behaviour change in a medium- to high-density residential context (the articles relate to themes that are broader than this domain). Continue reading

City building rooftops from above
Sustainability

Microgrids and apartment rooftops

I’ve written recently about energy efficiency in a high-density residential context (here, here and here). One specific area of reducing costs/consumption is to install renewable energy generation capacity. For properties that have significant roof-top space, this can be a quite cost effective way of reducing reliance on energy utilities (and increasing energy costs), thus reducing energy bills.

Whereas in a low-density residential environment (e.g. a separated dwelling or home) introducing renewable energy capacity is an option (e.g. installing solar panels or a solar hot water system), this is more difficult to achieve in a medium- to high-density environment. Continue reading