Driving energy improvements with IoT

  • Chookiat Jiraratmetagon  |
  • 2017-11-09
IoT Blog_November 9

Our sustainability initiative, Spark Change, is a call to action for all employees to leverage their expertise to create a more sustainable world. Using technology to solve challenges inspires our employees. And when their efforts make a positive impact on their community and the environment, they feel an even greater sense of accomplishment. 

Our employees took on the challenge to reduce electricity in our operations. Electricity is critical to a company’s operations, and in most cases, the largest operating cost and source of Greenhouse Gas emissions. It is also one of the most challenging commodities to track. They saw this challenge as an opportunity to leverage their expertise in data analytics, technology development and sustainability leadership to optimize the energy consumption in our facility.

We set our sights on Laem Chabang, Thailand – the largest facility in our global network – and began by examining how energy was being used in the factory. Since we were dealing with data sets so large and complex, we leveraged a cloud business intelligence tool to enable us to gather the meaningful insights we needed to analyze the facility’s energy consumption, and focus our efforts on finding a solution.

With this data in hand, we were able to ask tough questions and work together to develop a strategy. The Internet of Things (IoT) offers endless possibilities to connect devices and produce data and insights that weren’t previously available. Using this technology, our employees started to explore how they could better manage energy at our sites.

We designed, developed and deployed an IoT solution that included sense and control devices that could both measure and control equipment, an IT solution to collect and analyze data and a series of interactive dashboards to view the data and create rule-sets to automatically control equipment to help lower energy consumption. Notwithstanding that this solution was deployed during one of the hottest years on record and during a period of significant volume increase from one of our customers, we saved 4,500,000 kWh of electricity, achieving a 13.8 per cent improvement in energy productivity from our baseline in nine months. From an environmental perspective this is equivalent to a reduction of 3,162 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. In Thailand this has an even greater environmental benefit as the country uses fossil fuels to generate electricity – this electricity savings is equivalent to taking 668 passenger cars off of the road.

Today, the widespread availability of IoT technology and meaningful analytics is unlocking the potential of an increasingly connected world. There is no doubt that IoT is a huge opportunity to solve challenges and make a positive impact on a wide range of industries.