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Creating green environments with technology

Creating green environments with technology
June 21
09:18 2022

The U.S. Department of Energy says that highway vehicles release about 1.7 billion tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere each year – mainly in the form of carbon dioxide – contributing to global climate change. These gases pose a lot of havoc to human existence, hence the several conversations around climate change. Green technologies find applications in diverse human need areas such as buildings, industries, lighting, and automobile. It seeks to bring humanity closer to harnessing and replenishing nature in better ways.

Green Construction (GC) implements structural designs, buildings, and commercial spaces that offer a considerable dose of accountability to the environment with a resource-efficient entire building lifecycle. GC often spans planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. Green Building Technology, also known as ‘Sustainable Building Technology,’ seeks to design the building with less energy consumption in mind. Such technologies often hinge on excellent design flexibility, comparatively low cost of maintenance, and improved air ventilation and quality, to mention a few.

Data reveals that building and construction activities worldwide require a whopping 3 billion tons of raw materials annually. However, the use of green building technology drastically reduces this number without jeopardizing the durability and strength of our structures. Green technology goes beyond buildings and constitutes everything done to make our environment more habitable over time. Some green technologies that have contributed immensely to better living include:

Vertical gardens and farms: 

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The installation of vertical gardens in buildings offers cost savings on energy while bringing several benefits to the home or office environment. If well planned, vertical gardens need almost no watering routines that require unnecessary water use. They are installed along the wall area to lower the intense outdoor heating pollution and freshen up the environment. Apart from beautification, it isolates the high-temperature variations due to climate change, leading to significant savings in energy, heating, and air conditioning. If we utilize this technology on farms, we can save a lot of water while taking care of fertile soil. Today, there are loads of grants seeking to support innovative entrepreneurs with green initiatives, and vertical farms are some of what one could consider channeling such resources in one’s direction.

Self-sufficient buildings: 

Interestingly, these constructions can function on autopilot by generating energy that powers their operation without the need for an external contribution. This concept extends the benefits of solar panels, as they are used to drive control devices when required – imagine a security camera that turns on to record when there is a noticed passage in some areas of the building. Photovoltaic panels enable us to use excellent solar radiation when incorporated with intelligent solar tracking systems.

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Recycling and waste management: 

Household and industrial wastes have grown out of proportion leading to further harm to our environment. Plastics, tires, and polythene bags block our waterways leading to flooding, not to mention the discoloration they bring to the environment. Managing solid waste should be the commitment of organizations and individuals, as everyone is affected by the hazard they bring to our environment. Mixed plastics can be collected and sorted through smart containers, self-driven food waste-tracking systems, and automated optical scanning technology, separating them from other solid wastes. This use case saves our environment while offering savvy entrepreneurs extra income streams from plastic pellets exporters.

Energy through solar panels:

These are almost always the first things we think about when we hold conversations about green tech. The solar panel design approach has become more efficient and can be fitted into almost any continent as long as the sun reaches the same. There are a couple of easy-to-install versions, or one could get some expert installer to hire. The solar panel helps harness the sunlight to power everything in the building, as it offers huge savings on energy bills compared over a long period.

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Intelligent power strips save energy:

Smart strips attend to energy consumption in our daily-use devices as it automatically removes the device from taking in more energy once fully charged. Imagine a phone or laptop plugged into the socket for most of the day. Once fully charged, smart strips are controlling devices that help increase energy savings once our always-packed gadgets. It completely switches off the machine and stops it from taking in extra energy, saving money, and helping the environment over the long hall.

By using green technology, organizations can get benefits and market shares among competitors. Green innovation lowers the business input cost on energy, maintenance, and daily operations. In addition, it also betters the environmental image of organizations, especially when consumers become more aware of and reward environmentally-friendly practices.

Some other green technologies that point to a sustainable future for humans include:

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Smart meters and smart grids:

These help us better manage resources like electricity and water more efficiently. Smart meters for electricity and water offer better efficiencies while decreasing our energy bills and water wastage. We can now program our washing machines and other essential devices to run only during off-peak or lower power demand periods. They ensure that we get more utility from existing resources at no additional cost.

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Electric Automobiles:

Electric cars are jugular to achieving considerable leaps in how humanity treats the environment given them to nurture. Automobiles constitute one of the significant sources of pollution in our world. Three of the major pollutants from cars include particulate matter, carbon monoxide (cars emit this when fuel burns), and nitrogen dioxide (nitrogen and oxygen react to form this), which are very harmful to humans and our environment. Wireless technology has been embedded into regular electric cars to deliver electric power to vehicles in motion. Electric vehicles (EVs) come installed with devices that allow them to receive power remotely through an electromagnetic field broadcast from underground road cables. These vehicles are currently undergoing road tests in South Korea, and their production will majorly alter some of the current perceptions synonymous with electric cars. Some top EV manufacturers include Tesla, BMW, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford, Volkswagen, and Kia.

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The phenomenal alignment with the Pareto principle is noteworthy from the 2021 global units sold in which the top three manufacturers (Tesla, Toyota, and BYD) produce 50.87 percent numbering 2,204,365 units of total annual production. The apparent industry leader, Elon Musk’s Tesla, delivered about 936,000 vehicles in 2021 alone, with about 30 percent (308,000) of them provided within the fourth quarter of the same year. Most of the EVs that constituted this demand were Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossover SUVs. In addition to increased deliveries, Tesla currently produces profit without depending on the sale of regulatory credits. Net income exceeded $5.5 billion in 2021, way above its $721 million in 2020, with less than one-third of profit from regulatory credits. The company’s success, as expected, adds to an astounding increase in its share price, making Tesla the most valuable car company in the world. Imagine how it feels to have over 1300percent stock price increase over three years.

Among the top green tech companies, today are Fairphone and Apple. To reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Fairphone introduced a unique design for its new Fairphone3 in 2020. This design doubles a phone’s use time from an average of 2.7 years to about five years while offering a significant 30 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions per year of usage, all through the entire life cycle of the phone. The company has also raised the number of suitable materials integrated into the supply chain for their new phones. Each Fairphone 3+ comes with 41 percent post-consumer recycled plastics – a jump from the 9 percent for the original Fairphone 3. In 2020, they refurbished about 40 percent of the collected smartphones and safely recycled what they couldn’t reuse. All the initiatives mentioned above make Fairphone one of the top sustainable tech companies.

I conclude with Ban Ki-moon’s tout that saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, and advancing economic growth, among others, are the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security, and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all. Thank you for the sustained investment in time. Please follow me on Medium: https://medium.com/@roariyo and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/olufemi-ariyo-923ba6130/ or email me: [email protected]

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