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As humans, we have to rely on convenient modern technologies to power our lives, but burning fossil fuels to do so comes at a cost. Each of us leaves a “carbon footprint” – the amount of greenhouse gases produced through everyday activities like driving, heating our homes, and using electricity.
These greenhouse gas emissions are changing Earth’s climate in dangerous ways, like more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and worsening wildfires. Scientists predict calamities that threaten our global communities if we don’t act now.
The good news is that while technology helped create this problem, it can also help solve it. In this article, we will explore how technology can help reduce emissions and what are some best practices and recommendations for using technology sustainably.
Technology and emissions reduction in the real estate sector
The real estate industry has a huge hand in increasing emissions around the world. One of the biggest challenges in the real estate sector is designing, building, running, and taking care of properties in a cleaner way.
Thankfully, technology can lend a helping hand here by making it more efficient and resilient.
One part of real estate affecting emissions is leasing. Leasing is like a short-term rental agreement where the landlord lets the tenant use a place, like an apartment, in exchange for monthly pay.
But leasing can change many things because landlords and tenants may have different reasons for reducing energy bills.
To solve this dilemma, we must track and share the emissions tied to leased places. This is where emissions reporting for real estate leases comes in.
It’s a process of collecting, calculating, and communicating the emissions from leased real estate. Doing this helps tenants and landlords understand their carbon footprint and take necessary actions to reduce them.
It also shows them ways to trim emissions and maintain sustainability. Measuring leased emissions highlights an important but overlooked part of the industry’s environmental impact.
So when working as a team, landlords and tenants can plan and use their properties to be greener.
Technology and emissions reduction in the energy sector
The energy sector currently accounts for the largest share of global emissions. In 2019, it was responsible for around 73% of the total carbon pumped into our atmosphere.
Tackling this challenge is crucial if we hope to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Fortunately, new technologies are emerging that could help green the grid. Things like smart meters and sensors allow us to get more savvy about our energy use in ways that benefit both people and the planet.
Meters that connect to the internet let you view your consumption and costs in real time from your phone. Then you can make small adjustments to trim back wasteful habits.
Sensors take it a step further by automating efficiency. Place motion detectors in rooms, and the lights will switch on only when needed.
Thermostats can be programmed to suit your schedule, warming or cooling a home only when occupied. This curbs carbon (Co2) while still keeping us comfortable.
Blockchain brings a decentralized element that empowers individuals. The technology enables peer-to-peer energy trading within local communities. People can sell excess solar power generated at their homes to neighbors through this open platform.
According to a study by the International Energy Agency (IEA), implementing such digital tools across global power systems could reduce yearly emissions by 1.8 gigatons by 2040.
That’s about 5% of the total emissions in 2019. Smart tech, in this way, makes a big impact, demonstrating how ingenuity and teamwork can help transition us toward a sustainable energy future.
Technology and emissions reduction in the materials sector
While energy understandably grabs the headlines, materials also play an important role in our carbon crisis. Currently, this sector puts around 27% of total emissions into the air each year.
The challenge lies in moving from a wasteful linear system to a smarter circular model. Traditionally, we extract raw materials, use them briefly, then dispose of them – creating tremendous waste.
A circular approach instead seeks to reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle resources back into the production cycle.
Emerging technologies are lending a helping digital hand to close these material loops. For instance, 3D printing allows for customized creations with fewer discarded leftovers and lower transportation impacts.
Digital marketplaces allow us to easily exchange or donate pre-owned goods to find new homes and users, extending lifespan.
Meanwhile, the Internet of Things gives formerly static devices superpowers – transforming static devices and assets into intelligent connected objects. Optimization becomes possible with sensors tracking location, condition, and performance over time. Maintenance occurs preemptively versus reactively, maximizing efficiency.
These innovations promise to enhance traceability, quality, and value recovery at each stage.
Technology and emissions reduction in the mobility sector
The mobility sector is also a major source of global emissions, accounting for about 21% of the total emissions. Tackling this challenge means overhauling mobility so it’s more eco-friendly, affordable, accessible, and secure for all.
Thankfully, technological innovations are delivering promising solutions.
First up – electric vehicles. Letting go of Diesel or Gasoline vehicles in favor of battery-powered rides powered by renewable energy cuts emissions and fuel costs.
Over-the-air software updates also refine e-cars continuously. Autonomous driving functions boost road safety (in some cases), allowing vehicles to pilot themselves via sensors and AI algorithms.
Ride-sharing apps further optimize transportation. By coordinating carpools between neighbors headed in similar directions, congestion eases while reduced vehicle miles save big on carbon. Split fares offer budget relief too.
AI routing guides drivers to their destinations more directly while shortening total drive times.
In this article, we have explored how technology can help you reduce your emissions in different sectors, such as energy, materials, mobility, and real estate; and what are some best practices and recommendations for sustainably using technology.
Reducing emissions is not only our duty but also a smart choice. It can help you save money, improve your health, and enhance your reputation.
But it requires action and commitment from you and others. Technology can be your ally in this journey, but it is not enough by itself.
Together, we can make a difference and create a cleaner and greener future for ourselves and future generations.