,Singapore

Climate-friendly heating: can we keep warm without scorching the planet?

It’s said that ‘home is where the heart is. It’s certainly where we are spending the majority of our time – living, working, learning and playing while the pandemic continues. In this new normal, home electricity consumption is set to double by 2050. Simultaneously, we are faced with a moral and economic imperative to reduce CO2 emissions from houses as climate change devastates communities across the world. Net-zero homes is our goal, and it’s one we can’t reach fast enough. 

Power-hungry ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are the main reason households account for around 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Many countries have heating systems that still run on coal, oil or gas. But relying on these fossil fuels to keep us warm through winter adds to CO2 emissions. In hotter countries it’s the opposite – a lot of energy is used to keep homes cool. Yet the result is the same – unsustainable carbon emissions. If sustainability starts at home, HVAC must be the inception point. 

A carbon-free zone? 

It’s crucial that efforts to cut emissions don’t also cut living standards. Turning the heating off and suffering through the cold just isn’t an acceptable solution. The priority should be to cut emissions, not necessarily power consumption. Therefore, the use of clean energy for heating and cooling, as well as heating with ambient heat and heat pumps, could be an effective solution.  

Regulation is already driving change in countries like the UK and the Netherlands. In these countries, fossil fuels are being banned from places where more sustainable, renewable alternatives are available: chiefly, for powering homes. Some countries use other mitigation strategies: in California, for example, all new homes must be fitted with solar panels by law.  

As another way to sustainably power homes, heat pumps have already proven extremely popular in Europe, especially in Scandinavian nations. Electricity in these countries is already generated mainly by climate-friendly wind and hydropower. According to calculations by Fraunhofer ISE, heat pump systems in Sweden generate 90% fewer carbon emissions than heating systems that rely on natural gas. 

However, renewable generation alone won’t be enough. When the wind isn’t blowing or the sun shining, renewable energy sources can suffer intermittency issues. Electrical vehicle (EV) charging – which is becoming more popular – is heavy load and expensive to charge at peak times. This can force us to switch back to traditional carbon-based sources when our power needs outstrip supply. Sadly, we’re not yet at the point when all our domestic power needs can depend on renewable energy. At least, not without assistance from digital technology. 

Make a house a sustainable smart home 

To decisively cut emissions in the home, clean energy must be paired with the use of sustainable smart home technology. Sustainability-centric companies such as Schneider Electric have been going into IoT-connected sensors and intelligent systems to provide the deep insight we need to make impactful and responsible energy decisions. 

Effective energy management is central to efforts to decarbonise our dwellings. A lot of the energy consumed by HVAC is inevitably wasted – either through forgetting to turn it off when it’s no longer needed, or heating rooms that aren’t occupied for most of the day. Preventing this, however, becomes much easier once you have visibility and control through smart energy management systems like those we see at Schneider Electric. 

Now, any home can be digitally retrofitted to become more efficient. Once energy is made visible through digital and IoT – only then it can be measured and analysed. Consumers are then empowered to make small changes to their consumption habits, to reduce wasted energy and its resulting emissions.  

Smart systems can also facilitate more efficient use of renewable energy sources. When all smart systems are interconnected under one platform, AI algorithms can automatically adjust what source the house draws energy from. When a home has access to energy storage technology, it can store up excess power generated by renewable sources to be used when demand is high. This ensures that non-renewable sources are only tapped when absolutely necessary.  

By combining digital retrofits, energy storage and robust AI-powered energy management solutions, we can decarbonise our HVAC systems and our homes. A smart, connected approach to consumption can keep us warm this winter and cool this summer, without impacting the biodiversity around us.  [Read: How we should build sustainable homes of the future]

The power to change for the better 

The power to change for the better 

As we equip our homes with more IoT connected devices for our homes, our ability to control and manage our home’s energy needs is simply non-negotiable. A secure interoperable power management system from Schneider Electric will bring meaningful benefits to our homes and positively impacting the way we live, while keeping our energy costs and CO2 emissions at bay.  

We all know we need to spend less energy and become more sustainable. But do people have the ability to make sustainable choices from the comfort of their homes…without giving up on their lifestyle choices? – Find out what Patrick Caiger Smith, Chairman of GEO had to say on this on my latest podcast:

Climate Action with Net-Zero Homes

 

Join Singapore Business Review community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!

Around 56% of Singaporeans overspend their money during the season.
In 2021, GDP growth hit 7.1%.
The spectrum boost will deliver significant 5G coverage Australia-wide.
Over 270 entries were received from more than 25 countries.
Micro-businesses cited lack of funds as a barrier to technology adoption.
The supervisory roundtable was held virtually.
Winners will be awarded from the first to the second week of December.
Singtel had the most growth for the day.
Its performance improved in two categories.
The expected increase will be driven by three factors.
The two also discussed post-pandemic recovery.
It also recorded a strong performance for H1 2021, despite a net loss of $150.6m.
Jigger & Pony found itself retaining its ninth ranking.
The moderate increase was driven by expansions in five out of six indicators.