Automation is rapidly gaining momentum around the world. Many people talk about the advantages it can bring in aiding productivity and scalability. Those perks are important, but how might automation promote sustainability?

How Will Automation Impact the Sustainability Sector?
How Will Automation Impact the Sustainability Sector?

Jenna Tsui Technology Blogger | The Byte Beat

Automation is rapidly gaining momentum around the world. Many people talk about the advantages it can bring in aiding productivity and scalability. Those perks are important, but how might automation promote sustainability?


Robots Help Clean Solar Panels

Due to their location, solar panels might get overlooked within the cleaning plans made by households or businesses. Plus, some people may assume that rainfall has a natural cleansing effect that makes cleaning unnecessary.

Google decided to test that theory by analyzing the effect of cleaning solar panels for the first time after 15 months of use. The results were that the energy output doubled overnight, making the experiment worthwhile. Then, when the tech giant cleaned those same panels eight months later, that effort instantly increased the electricity production by 36%.

It's important to mention that Google cleaned the flat solar panels on a carport. Rain sufficiently washed the ones mounted at an angle. Some people may not like the height that comes with cleaning a solar panel. That's why numerous companies engineered robots that can do the job instead. One robot associated with an India startup uses less water than the usual method of tackling the panels by hand.

If robots can clean solar panels more efficiently and while using fewer resources, the availability of those machines may indirectly increase the overall adoption rate of solar energy. That's particularly true for people who are older or disabled and cannot safely clean the panels themselves and may not know of a local company that could do it.


Automated Buildings Reduce Waste and Risk

Automation technology for buildings can continually check the environment and look for ways to save resources. For example, a system might automatically turn off the lights after everyone leaves a conference room. Or, it could keep the thermostat at a temperature that saves energy without sacrificing comfort. One option offered by Honeywell analyzes thousands of assets every 15 minutes to see if the climate control system is running at peak efficiency.

Installing automation technology in a home could also ensure that the occupants live as sustainably as possible by reducing waste. Another benefit of some automated systems for consumers is they can minimize risk by boosting awareness and letting people protect their abodes from afar. For example, some automated systems give alerts of suspected burst pipes or let people lock doors, turn on lights and watch camera feeds of their homes while they're away.

Perhaps you can recall a time when you left to go out of town for the weekend and came home to find the hall light on, as well as something else you forgot to turn off before departing. Even if those incidents don't cause risks, they do represent waste that automation could curb. Once people have systems connected to their smartphones, they can take care of things in their homes without being there.


Automation Gives Hope for a More Sustainable Future

There's now a widespread knowledge that focusing on sustainability is crucial for the Earth and all its inhabitants. The resources we have are not limitless and failing to act sustainably could have disastrous consequences.

Some people are collaborating and using their expertise to come up with sustainable solutions that could change the world forever. For example, Mitsubishi Electric created an automation contest that happens in various countries and earns support from private corporations and academic institutions alike.

Sustainability is a principle theme defining the event. The goal is to come up with things that benefit society at large, and not just the companies that may eventually improve business processes with them.


Automated Processes Save Time and Resources

Various industries are already rapidly exploring the potential of automation. For example, in agriculture, many indoor farms are largely automated, and they use less water than conventional operations. Plus, sensors continually monitor factors like water usage and light, ensuring that the crops only get what they need and no more. These setups also address sustainability by helping to meet future food needs.

Manufacturing plants often depend on automated systems to streamline their processes and figure out how to cut out unnecessary steps. But such automation is not only for the factory floor. An option called robotic process automation (RPA) is a popular choice for people who work in office environments and handle responsibilities related to data entry or invoicing.

Although some people argue that RPA will replace jobs, companies that use it often report that the technology frees employees up to do more rewarding work. That outcome ties into sustainability because it means that workers can increasingly use their creativity and expertise to help the business thrive while automated software oversees monotonous tasks.


Automation Facilitates Changed Minds

People provide various descriptions of what sustainability means to them, depending on whom you ask. But its general goal is to live and operate in ways that recognize the need for resource conservation and planning for the future.

Now that so many automated systems and platforms exist, it's easier for people to begin thinking about how to broaden their viewpoints about what's possible and otherwise adapt to keep sustainability in mind.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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