Time: Data Driving Energy Efficiency

The abundance of data available in the digital era is the driving force behind a whole raft of energy efficiency technologies, according to a feature in Time magazine.

Cutting energy waste – a key goal of President Obama’s recent State of the Union speech – is “first and formost” a data challenge as you can’t cut waste until you know what your wasting, the article says.

Thanks to growth of tools and know-how combining the Internet and energy technology, also known as the Enernet, energy users can track and reduce energy waste in ways that weren’t previously possible.

Time descries Enernet-related industries as “the hottest sector in clean tech right now,” due in part to its reliance on scalable software to find energy efficiencies rather than, for instance, large factories that are needed for the production of other green technology such as solar panels. These lower capital outlays have made the industry a top investment for venture capitalists, the article says.

Companies such as Autogrid are using so-called “big-data” to help utilities manage demand spikes during peak energy-use periods, such as during heat waves, according to Time. The company’s algorithms can be used to crunch huge amounts of data from smart meters and external factors such as weather patterns to provide utilities with alternative plans for energy usage. These plans can suggest options such as shifting non-essential electricity use to off-peak times.

Such energy management can also be used to deal with intermittent supply problems associated with some renewable energy sources. Time uses the example of IBM and wind turbine manufacturer Vestas partnering to model past, present and future wind patterns to better locate wind turbines.

In November, Enlighted announced that its products are being used to improve more than 5 million square feet of commercial real estate. Modular carpet firm Interface is saving 70 percent on power consumption at its 35,000-sq-foot office/warehouse in Acworth, Ga., through the use of Enlighted technology.

Enlighted counts LinkedIn, Google, Turner Broadcasting, JDSU and Hewlett-Packard among its customers.

Picture credit:  Anemoneprojectors

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