First published on the Cleantech Investor website, March 2014
by Anne McIvor
The first in a series of Cleantech Investor events on ‘Big Data and Cleantech’, sponsored by Navitas Capital and Smith & Williamson, took place in London on 5 March 2014. Focusing on buildings and the Internet of Things, speakers represented AlertMe, Arup, Asset Mapping, EnergyDeck, PhotonStar LED Group and Sentec.
All were broadly in agreement that the key to the deployment of ‘big data‘ within the smart grid and energy will be consumer engagement. Often, however, in order to engage consumers, the applications promoted will be far from what is traditionally thought of as cleantech.
Potential for Big Data in Energy/Smart Grid
The potential for energy efficiency in buildings is massive. As Arup’s Jim Read pointed out, buildings consume 40% of worldwide energy and produce an estimated 21% of greenhouse gas emissions. Bill Clee of Asset Mapping quoted statistics demonstrating that 47% of private sector buildings waste half of their energy. In terms of the potential to deploy big data to enhance energy efficiency within buildings, Chris Shelley of Sentec believes that:
“The Internet of Things can make up for some of the shortcomings in the energy industry/smart grid”.
There is huge potential for the increased use of microprocessors in buildings and Shelley, whose company provides sensing and measurement technology, sees the Internet of Things and the smart grid moving together in sensor space. His vision is for the smart grid to make the energy network a dynamic network. For that to happen, measurement is needed at every part of the grid. Microprocessors today can measure things that, in the past, were too expensive to measure – which means we now have the tools to utilise embedded generation and the smart grid.