The democratization of energy – the ability to produce and share green energy in homes, offices and factories – will depend on information and communication technologies (ICT) being linked together in a “smart web.” A new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), “The Energy Efficiency and Productivity Benefits of Smart Appliances and ICT-Enabled Networks: An Initial Assessment,” explores the potential impact that ICT-enabled networks and smart appliances might have in stimulating greater levels of energy efficiency and a more productive economy.
Equipment and systems used in buildings, transportation and manufacturing are becoming adaptive, anticipatory and networked to one another, ACEEE explained in a blog post. As the devices are interconnected and managed by the use of multi-objective analytics, what is currently referred to as the Internet of Things, or the Industrial Internet, can become an optimized network of networks, sometimes called the Internet of Everything.
ACEEE created a series of thought experiments that indicate the near-term economic impacts that might follow from an accelerated deployment of ICT-enabled networks and services. In examining the economic gains in major economic arenas from 2013, ACEEE found productivity benefits are driven in part by a 1.1 billion barrel energy efficiency gain that could reduce the nation’s annual energy bill by about $79 billion.
ACEEE’s initial assessment concludes with a set of recommendations on next steps, including better mining of “big data” and probabilities-based analysis. The organization also recommends integrating more of the social rather than the purely economical rationale in order to understand how smart appliances and ICT-enabled networks might contribute to a more resilient and economic sustainable future.
The evidence suggests that accelerated investments in smart appliances and ICT-enabled networks will be among the tools that can reduce the volatility of the US economy, restore a greater vitality in overall economic activity and reduce overall environmental burdens, ACEEE said.