Making the Smart Home More Sustainable – IoT For All
Illustration: © IoT For All
Smart home devices skyrocketed in popularity throughout the pandemic. These smart devices can make you more productive, provide entertainment, and keep you safe. It’s also exciting to think about how IoT can make your home greener.
Sustainability in the Smart Home
Last year, global electricity demands rose 6 percent, straining local supply chains and pushing up electricity prices. These rising energy demands are quickening the pace of global warming and contributing to the climate crisis. There are many ways to help stop climate change, including switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy and protecting rainforests like the Amazon. But what can we do at an individual level to help?
One thing that we can all do is use less electricity. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you need to sit in the dark. Rather, it’s important to try and minimize energy waste. Reducing our energy usage en masse can make a huge difference, and smart devices are designed to help lower our household energy usage.
Smart thermostats make it easy for users to set their preferences and adjust the temperature and AC from their smartphones – whether they are on their couch or on the go. With advancements in AI, smart thermostats are now learning how to better anticipate users’ heating and cooling preferences based on usage patterns. These smart systems can help significantly reduce your energy usage and energy bills, a win-win for consumers. Plus, smart thermostats can help you detect when there is a problem with heating or cooling systems and provide reminders about when it’s time to change air filters.
Smart lighting is another amenity that helps with sustainability. Smart lighting systems allow you to set your lighting preferences based on location, the time of day, and whenever the system detects that someone is home. This type of customization, along with using efficient LED bulbs, can go a long way in reducing energy usage.
The Need for Energy Harvesting
To become more sustainable, the IoT industry needs to address its battery problem. Every year, billions of batteries are thrown out, leaking harmful chemicals into landfills. Energy harvesting offers a solution.
Smart devices can use energy harvesting technology, combined with other low-power enhancements like Lowest Power Radio and On-demand Wake Up technology, to extend battery life so a single battery can last the lifetime of the smart product. In some cases, energy harvesting technology can even allow devices to operate without any batteries at all. In addition to the convenience factor of not having to change batteries, users benefit from the cost savings. At scale, smart devices with energy harvesting will help the IoT industry become much more sustainable.
Energy Harvesting Sources
There are a variety of energy harvesting approaches that smart devices are leveraging today, including photovoltaic (PV), radio frequency (RF), mechanical motion, and thermal. PV is one of the most popular approaches for energy harvesting in the IoT industry, especially for human interface devices such keyboards and mice. One thing that might surprise a lot of people is that modern PV cells don’t require much light to harvest energy. PV cells can easily harvest light at typical indoor light levels and can even harvest energy from non-visible light sources such as infrared. Today, glass substrate is the most common material for PV cells, but continual innovations in PV technology are enabling PV cells to be built …….