Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
Intelligent efficiency, a suite of new technologies and approaches, is taking us to a place we have long sought: a future where energy use is optimized automatically. It’s already changing how buildings are managed, organizations are evaluated, and policies are implemented. The disruption is comprehensive across all sectors, but so are the opportunities.
2014 was a good year for energy efficiency. The outlook for 2015 is uncertain, but we’re guardedly optimistic.
The New Year is usually a good time to take stock of the year just ended, and to look forward to the year ahead. Regarding energy efficiency, 2014 was generally a good year. Energy-saving technologies and practices continued to advance. For example, in 2014 LED lighting became a mainstream source of light. The Design Lights Consortium now lists more than 70,000 LED lighting products.
Chances are you’ve seen examples of intelligent efficiency in action in the transportation sector, whether you realize it or not. If you rely on a smart phone app to tell you when your train or bus is arriving for your daily commute, that’s an example of intelligent efficiency at work. If you happen to own a vehicle with a dashboard that provides you instant fuel economy readouts, manufacturers are using intelligent systems to help you maximize the efficiency of your vehicle.
The Internet of Everything could be huge boost for U.S. productivity, but we’ll need more data and investment to unlock it
History teaches us that technological advances often lead to new opportunities to reach greater heights. A precipitous decline in the cost of computing power and data storage, and dramatic improvements in programming science, have resulted in the potential for every device to become a connected, “smart” device. Such devices can collect and process enormous amounts of data, making possible many kinds of analysis and higher levels of performance that were unachievable just a decade ago.
Efficiency has become intelligent. We’ve always known that waste is stupid and that efficiency is smart, but now, many energy measures can learn, adapt, and self-optimize. It’s called “intelligent efficiency,” and it’s going to transform how energy efficiency is provided, achieved, and measured. We’re so excited about its potential that we are hosting an entirely new conference on the subject in November.
Smart manufacturing, the integration of all facets of manufacturing through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), is set to transform the industrial sector and its use of energy, raw materials, and labor over the next twenty years. Everyone in a company will have the information they need to make informed, data-driven decisions in real-time. Executives will have will have a panoramic view of productivity and managers will have an in depth view of their production costs, including energy.
Today 191 Republican and 184 Democratic members of the House joined to pass the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014 (HR 2126), sponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT). The bill includes several provisions to save energy in buildings:
“Not Your Father’s Energy Efficiency”: New “Intelligent Efficiency” Discoveries Focus on Interconnected Systems—Not Devices such as Cars or Refrigerators; Shift in Emphasis Could Slash 12-22 Percent of Current U.S. Energy Use.