AEG is a sports and entertainment company that has 120 venues located around the world. It wants to reduce its environmental footprint and one step it is taking is to collect data and analyze that information, all before running its processes in new ways to become more efficient.
By 2020, it seeks to cut its greenhouse gases by 3.2% a year, cut its potable water usage by 2.3% annually and divert 70% of its waste from landfills. With that, AEG tracks 53 different data streams and reports information to divisional heads through cloud-based software and in real time.
“Managers at each venue can configure personal dashboards and generate customized reports for water, waste, and electricity use – for facility benchmarking and business analytics. The solution is designed to put hard energy data to work, reducing costs and environmental impact,” Bill Brewer, vice president of Energy and Sustainability Services at Schneider Electric, said in an email example of cloud-based data programs that his company offers.
Schneider Electric joined with GreenBiz to survey nearly 240 companies with revenues of $100 million or more a year. About 85% of respondents said they are taking action over the next three years to reduce their carbon footprints. Some of those are implementing more advanced strategies and technologies to manage energy and emissions like cloud-based data-sharing tools.
The opportunity for energy savings and environmental benefits can only mount because of such cloud-based solutions: Roughly 24 billion devices are expected to be connected to the world’s mobile networks by 2020, says GSM Association.
As for AEG, it is on track to meet its over all goals. Since 2010, cloud-based solutions along with energy procurement programs have saved it a total of $3 million. It has also diverted 63% of its waste and reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 14%.
“In partnership with Schneider Electric, our objective is to proactively deliver to our facilities worldwide solutions and improvements – that not only reduce our environmental footprint, but also cut utility costs and ensure that AEG is leading the way when it comes to energy services and sustainability,” Scott Borsage, business services for AEG said.
Analytics is growing in importance when it comes to running businesses. It’s not just that the number of devices is increasing. It’s also that the information is overwhelming and that it must be harnessed in the cloud, or technically speaking as part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Environmental managers use it to reduce greenhouse emissions. Energy managers use it to procure fuels and increase the efficiencies of their facilities. CenterPoint Energy, for example, needs accurate greenhouse gas emissions reports. By using IoT, it has been able to get those reports in two weeks — down from two months.
It is about “analytics or big data, and the ability to mine that information,” Sphera Chief Executive Paul Marushka, previously told Environmental Leader. “You must then be able to something different than what you do today.”
“The trend is not going away,” says Marushka. “It will accelerate. The amount of data that can be collected will have a significant environmental effect.”
In manufacturing, IoT can also monitor stoppages, employee behaviors and safety procedures. In transportation, it can monitor shipping, processing and inventory control. The data is in real time so that companies can have relevant information to effect the changes they need.
Needless-to-say, the biggest step that such companies are taking is that they are incorporating more renewables into their operations to reduce emissions. The Schneider survey says that 51% of the companies it survey are doing just that. And they do so mostly by entering into long-term power purchase agreements whereby they buy green energy at a fixed cost from a developer. They can also use other strategies such as generate their own power on site or buy directly from utilities.
Sun Chemical is now deploying onsite and offsite renewable energy programs as a way to cut electricity costs and to improve environmental performance. Its latest effort is the installation of rooftop and carport solar panels, all under a contract to buy the output at a fixed cost to serve one of its production facilities in New Jersey — a deal that it says has saved it $400,000.
“Over the last two to four years, renewable technologies have become more cost effective in many countries and markets around the world,” Schneider Electric’s Brewer says.