7 ways IoT can contribute to sustainability

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Technological innovations have attracted people's attention since the mid-18th century. Since then, they have been able to use natural resources on a larger scale. The increased use of raw materials, the increase in production and the growth in the world's population have led to CO₂ emissions and resource scarcity.

However, the relationship between technology and the environment has changed, as the factors driving sustainability and digital innovation are no longer connected. This environmental and technological shift has been driven by a wide range of immersive technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and, most importantly, the Internet of things (IoT). All of these technologies have the potential to transform commercial and industrial processes and make them more environmentally friendly.

IoT And Sustainability

Advances in wireless connectivity and IoT sensor technologies have mutually reinforced sustainability and digital innovation. Companies are using IoT technologies to adopt green practices, organize processes, and use resources responsibly.

How can the IoT contribute to sustainability?

The following are the key IoT applications that are having a positive impact on the environment and helping to make our planet greener. IoT and sustainability are no longer topics of the day after tomorrow - we are in the middle of development.

Intelligent energy management

Customers today are placing more emphasis on sustainable technologies. IoT devices support the management of a wide range of supply chains. These include electric utilities, their energy consumption, and supply through distributors and consumers. These smart energy management systems not only help reduce energy costs, but also minimize carbon emissions. To monitor energy use, wireless electricity meters provide energy consumption data from buildings, individuals, and industrial facilities. This data-driven knowledge helps businesses and individuals monitor and optimize their energy use to become more sustainable.

Intelligent waste management

As the world's population grows, so does the amount of waste produced by humans. Researchers: inside expect 3.4 billion tons of waste by 2050 - per year! Inconsistent and inefficient waste disposal exacerbates the situation. The Internet of Things (IoT), with its network of wireless sensors, can solve waste and trash management problems by giving building managers access to real-time data about trash receptacles. Building managers can decide which waste garbage cans to empty first when they know the current fill level. With this information, waste management companies can optimize their collection schedules and reduce environmental impact. 

Intelligent waste management

Air quality monitoring

Air pollution is one of the growing global problems. According to a report by the World Health Organization, 7 billion people worldwide die prematurely as a result of indoor and outdoor air pollution. Pollutants in the air are also deadly to human health. Poor air quality has significant impacts on food and vegetation, renewable energy, weather, and water. Thanks to innovative and cost-effective IoT sensors, municipalities can monitor the air quality index. In this way, the cause of air pollution can be tracked in real time. Municipalities can take action to reduce air pollution.

Insights into fleet management

Attention to the different types of fuel and their impact on the environment and air quality has increased significantly. Governments around the world are also placing great emphasis on reducing CO2 emissions. This increases the pressure on fleet operators to optimize their fleet management and make it more environmentally friendly. Vehicle condition, driving behavior, idling time, fuel consumption, and location all play an important role in calculating total fleet emissions. With the help of wireless IoT sensors and IoT trackers installed in fleets, important insights into these metrics can be gained. Data from IoT devices can provide useful insights into vehicle maintenance, improve driving behavior, and optimize routes. Among other things, IoT trackers provide real-time positioning for more responsive and accurate route planning. This ultimately leads to a reduction in pollutant emissions caused by the time the vehicle spends idling in traffic.

Detection of water leaks and water shortages

Oxfam Germany expects dramatic shortages in water supply to occur in many parts of the world. This underscores the importance of solutions that focus on water management and can significantly reduce annual water wastage. Nearly 20% to 30% of potable water is wasted due to leaking pipes. Wireless connectivity and IoT sensors have significantly reduced the cost of collecting and analyzing data from various measurement points such as at valves, pumps, or entire water processes such as irrigation. Installing IoT sensors for leak detection in facilities or buildings enables water leak detection, water quality control and level monitoring. The smart system can alert facility managers immediately when a sign of a water leak is detected so that timely countermeasures can be taken. If installed on a larger scale, these IoT systems can reduce water waste and save the country from a growing water crisis.

Smart agriculture

Smart agriculture

The availability of natural resources such as arable land and freshwater is steadily decreasing due to the growing world population. The situation is exacerbated by the low annual yields of staple foods. The solution to meeting the world's food needs lies in the concept of sustainable food production with smart agriculture, which can also reduce the environmental footprint and waste of resources. Smart agriculture systems based on IoT technologies can help achieve environmental sustainability. IoT devices collect data on factors such as soil conditions, etc., that contribute to crop growth. Analysis of the collected data provides useful information about various agricultural practices, such as fumigation, fertilization, irrigation, and seeding. This data-driven information helps farmers avoid conditions that could affect crop health. In addition, smart farming reduces error-prone and inefficient human intervention and minimizes the use of water, chemicals and other resources. This ultimately leads to a smaller environmental footprint and higher production rates.

Cold chainmanagement

Nearly one-third of the food produced worldwide is wasted. This means that 1.6 billion tons of food are thrown away every year, which equates to a loss of $1.2 trillion. Food also wastes the energy and resources needed to grow, harvest and transport it. These are also environmental issues that need to be addressed. The reason for these huge losses lies in the inadequate recording of temperature in the food supply chain. Temperature is the most important factor that can affect food quality. Incorrect temperature settings can cause food to spoil and go to waste. Smart cold chains equipped with wireless IoT sensors can monitor food environmental conditions such as light intensity, air quality, humidity, and most importantly, temperature. In addition, smart cold chains ensure that the quality and integrity of the food is not compromised.


In the past, technology could have a negative impact on the environment. Today, it is helping to make the planet greener. IoT technologies enable governments, businesses and individuals to implement energy-efficient practices, organize processes and use resources responsibly to achieve long-term environmental sustainability.

Start now and bring sustainability to your business with IoT.

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Published December 6, 2022

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