Green: Internet of Things

Judhajit Chakraborty

Judhajit Chakraborty, Assoc. AIA, LEED® AP WSP Built Ecology

The next big thing in Building Automation and Sustainability.

In  the  last  few  years,  technology  has  developed  so  much  that  we  have I moved  way  beyond  simply  using  our  machines  to  connect  with  people. Technology can now program machines to connect directly with one another, thereby making them capable of collecting and processing information at an unprecedented scale. This new connectivity and communication protocol that involves  both  physical  infrastructure  and  devices  is  being  referred  to  as  the ‘Industrial Internet’, or the ‘Internet of Things’, while the technology that facilitates this connectivity is called ‘Machine-to-Machine’ (M2M).

Below is some mind boggling data that makes M2M technology the next big thing:

By  2020,  12.5  billion  M2M  devices  globally  will  be  in  application. That is up from  1.3 billion  devices today.  M2M technologies  are  projected  to  maintain  a  twenty  three  percent  growth  rate  over  the  next decade.  Therefore, what  is  today  a  $121  billion  business  will  be  worth  $948  billion  by  2020.  These technologies  can  help reduce  Global  Greenhouse  Gas  (GHG)  emissions  by  9.1  billion  metric  tons  by 2020 which is equivalent to 19% of Global GHG emissions in 2011.

The following are the most promising sectors which will be highly benefited by the Internet of things.


M2M, by adopting smart-grid technologies (smart meters and utility based demand reduction)

could save more than 2 billion metric tons of CO2e in the energy sector. It can also improve the

efficiency of energy production and transmission, and can further reduce emissions by facilitating the switch to renewables.


M2M could save about 1.9 billion metric tons of CO2e by optimizing the routes of planes, trains, trucks and ships so that transportation becomes more efficient. The built environment:

Buildings, which we care for, could use M2M to save 1.6 billion metric tons ofCO2e, by increasing energy efficiency of heating, cooling and ventilation, lighting, electronics, appliances and security systems.


M2M could save 1.6 billion metric tons of CO2e in the agricultural sector by reducing defor-

estation, managing livestock and increasing efficiency of planting, seeding, harvesting, fertilizer use and water use. These technologies can thus help in an increased food production with fewer resources.

So, what’s in it for buildings and how does this technology help in energy and carbons savings?

The answer is  simple. This technology makes a building more proactive rather than reactive. Building management and automation systems are old institutions, but believe it or not, there is a constant struggle for the building operators or facility managers to interpret the data. More often than not, they are misinterpreted. Newer buildings have stringent energy goals and when the architects and engineers job is done after the building is occupied, the building facility managers job starts to maintain that strict energy goal for its life. With the regular building practices, each building system spits out data individually and it is the responsibility of the facility manager to interpret it correctly and make conclusions and decisions or take corrective action.

In an M2M scenario all the individual systems would be connected to each through control sequences and data. This would all occur in the cloud and there would be automatic signals and corrective actions of any discrepancies. M2M technology could be crucial for detecting anomalies that start out small, but become worse over time and thus save energy.

Though there are barriers, including lack of data or universal standards etc., according to experts, the ‘Internet of Things’ will be the next big thing after the worldwide web.

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