The manufacture and disposal of digital devices also cost resources. At the same time, our everyday lives are shifting more and more into virtual spaces. We work from our home offices, buy tickets via apps at bus stops, and stream music and movies for all they’re worth. High time to think about sustainability and digitization together. The good news is that as much as technology is fueling climate change, it can mitigate it with its own resources. Governments and industry are working together on IT solutions to make digitization more energy efficient. You too can contribute by regulating your data and resource consumption. We have some tips for you and also show you how you can be digital and climate-friendly with Wattify.
Innovative IT for the environment
How can we reduce our ecological footprint while enabling people to live well in the present and in the future? This question is driving IT developers around the world. One crucial idea is networking data structures. The more information we generate and make usable between actors and machines, the more autonomous and effective their processes become. For example, so-called “smart metering” optimizes our energy supply. Intelligent control systems collect data on how much electricity is needed and adjust energy generation accordingly.
Making our living space more climate-friendly is a fundamental transformation. This extends from private households to entire cities. That’s why urban planners are using every area of the urban public realm to make data-driven improvements. The poster child for such a smart city is Barcelona. In the Catalan metropolis, sensors integrated into the streetscape provide information about energy consumption, air quality and noise levels. This has enabled the city to modernize passenger transport and supply chains, for example. The remarkable thing about Barcelona’s model is that it is democratically designed. The administration offers the collected data to citizens on open-source platforms for free use. This enables everyone to be more aware of their consumption and to help shape the technological transformation of their city.
Another international example of a sustainable, digital infrastructure is Taipei in Taiwan. There, the focus is on automation. Electric vehicles pay for their charging independently via cryptocurrency thanks to the algorithm developed by a Berlin-based company. Germany also wants to drive energy-efficient mobility digitally. In Munich, access to public transportation is possible via a single app. The combined data structure not only provides online tickets and timetable information, but also offers rental bikes, car sharing, virtual parking tickets, and even monitoring of personal energy consumption.
The more climate-friendly use of digital systems in cities is far from all that the federal government and industry are working on. The technology needed for digitization must also be integrated into a sustainable production cycle. How can industry reduce material requirements and cut greenhouse gas emissions during production? How can the end consumer use a digital medium in the most energy-efficient way? And how can politics help ensure that we can reuse used materials? We all have a responsibility in this cycle. Here are a few suggestions for you on how you can make your own everyday life in our digital society more sustainable.
Tips for sustainable use of digital media
1. conscious surfing
Sure, spending less time on the Internet would help. But you can also reduce the volume of data that comes up by optimizing your use of virtual content. Instead of streaming videos, you could download them and watch them offline. Lower resolution saves extra energy.
For looking up how to cook spaghetti or spell correctly, green search engines are a great option. Not only are they sustainably operated, they often provide more data security.
Also, clean up your email inbox. Every saved message costs the servers that host them electricity.
2. monitor consumption
Do you actually know how much energy your digital devices use every day? Whether you’re at home with your smart TV or on the go with your cell phone, knowing your energy usage can help you regulate it better. Apps that show you this data can help.
3. recycle your hardware
Your smartphone contains rare earths and other raw materials. Their supply is exhaustible. Not to mention the high energy consumption and poor working conditions under which they are extracted. It makes sense not to let your old devices gather dust in a drawer, but to hand them in to recycling centers or electronics stores. This way, their components can be recycled or remanufactured as a whole. In addition, it’s worth buying “refurbished” devices that have been reproduced as a result.
4. use sustainable apps — for example, Wattify.
If you need two or three apps for two or three applications, the more electricity it will cost you. If you need only one for multiple apps, you save electricity. The Wattify app works on this principle. Here you can invest, manage your investments, and get your returns — all in one. Your data is secure and transparent for you. Together we can save resources with innovative technology. With Wattify, your investment is mapped on a climate-neutral blockchain. So you can be sure that there is no additional environmental impact. The Wattify app gives you all the information you need about your favorite renewable energy projects, as well as access to the Wattify community. This is where you meet the people for whom impact and investment go hand in hand, just like sustainability and digitalization.