COP26: When designing technical solutions for the climate

Tesla commercialise un kit comprenant des panneaux solaires à poser sur son toit, une batterie et une application permettant de suivre sa consommation en temps réel.

Posted on November 1, 2021 at 3:00 PM

In terms of climate change, the technology sector is one of the problems. The production and distribution of smartphones, computers, headphones or connected TVs emits greenhouse gases: the raw materials must be extracted and transported to production sites and then the finished products to the consumer.

These electronic devices are then recharged, generally using carbon-free electricity. Finally, waste also emits greenhouse gases. Think tank Shift project By 2020, the tech sector is estimated to account for about 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this share is expected to increase every year.

But new technologies can also solve the climate crisis. Some of these solutions are already profitable, while others are still in the testing phase.

Connected houses and buildings

Some connected items, including “smart” thermostats, can help reduce household energy consumption, thus reducing their CO2 emissions. Google estimates that its Nest thermostat has enabled American users to reduce their heating consumption by 10% to 12% and air conditioning by 15%. The second is installed on the wall of the house and communicates with the boiler.

Google says the thermostat is “self-programmed after a week of use”. It is “compatible with most gas and oil heating systems”. However, this technical solution can only slightly reduce energy consumption. To heat when low CO2 is emitted, it is generally advisable to insulate your home and opt for a pollution-free heating system such as a heat pump.

To a large extent, digitizing buildings and factories can save energy. “Installing sensors in an office, factory, hotel or apartment building can help measuring devices achieve energy savings of 30% to 50%,” Schneider Electric CEO Echoes announced last year. Pascal Tricoire. “The return on investment is about three to five years. “

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Renewable energy

The carbon footprint of a home depends not only on its total consumption, but also on how electricity is generated when it is used. While a large portion of electricity comes from renewable energy, their role in the daytime electricity mix varies depending on sunlight and wind.

On October 6, Google introduced a new service, now available only in the United States. It aims to provide additional heating or cooling to users of smart thermostats at times when most of the electricity comes from renewable sources. This “Renew Basic” program is free, while the “Premium Renew” program, at a rate of $ 10 per month, subsidizes renewable energy.

Tesla goes further by offering to take over from the network if its customers are not able to meet its needs. Founded by Elon Musk, the company markets kits that include solar panels to be installed on the roof, batteries, and applications for real-time consumption monitoring. Revenue from the “Solar and Storage” division exceeded $ 2.1 billion this year.

Move without getting too dirty

Choosing a car or bicycle, train, boat or plane for your travels can make a big difference in the carbon footprint. Google first announced in October that the carbon budget associated with each flight will soon be displayed on its Google Flight comparator, and the emissions for each road trip will soon be displayed on Google Maps. In this way he hopes to encourage consumers to make the right choice.

“These features will be deployed in the United States this year, and others worldwide by 2022,” the California Institute said in a press release. The search engine also wants to improve Google Maps’ interface so that cyclists can find the information they need to find their way “at a glance”.

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Can be found in Metavas

The distant dream of technology, virtual reality is gradually becoming a reality. “I’ve been teaching virtual reality since 1999. This year, for the first time, I teach virtual reality lessons,” Stanford professor Jeremy Bailenson told Echo. Facebook has equipped Oculus Quest 2 headsets for the 180 students attending his seminar; In addition, the courses are conducted on the Engage platform run by an Irish company.

If virtual reality were to be democratized one day, perhaps in the form of a Mark Zuckerberg-favorite “metawares”, it would mean that professional meetings would almost certainly be online. This would be great news for the weather.

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