New Report: Big Data is the Key to Energy Efficiency

Pundits in every sector are becoming more worried about energy efficiency. The International Energy Agency recently released a report showing that society is making significant progress promoting energy efficiency, but more work still needs to be done. Fortunately, advances in big data are helping us meet targets.

How Does Big Data Promote Energy Efficiency?

Big data has transformed green energy initiatives in many sectors. Solar companies, wind farms and even underwater data centers are utilizing it to their fullest potential.

A new report from Arizona State University shows that big data is playing an even more prominent role than previously predicted. Professor Yueming (Lucy) Qiuand her colleagues argue that many of the benefits of big data have been overlooked, because statistics haven’t been well organized. They have started assimilating statistics on the relationship between big data and energy efficiency, which appear to be very promising so far.

Here are some findings that may encourage more companies to utilize big data to become more energy efficient.


Benchmarking Energy Performance of Urban Buildings

Urban environments account for about three-quarters of global energy emissions, despite only taking up 3% of the world’s surface area. They must be much more vigilant about cutting CO2 emissions to minimize their carbon footprint.

Rishee Jain, director of the Urban Informatics Laboratory at Stanford University, states that big data is playing a key role in minimizing pollution in urban areas. The biggest impact comes from using data to improve the energy performance of city buildings.

Identify Wasteful Energy Consumption at the Macro and Micro Level


Most organizations focused on improving energy efficiency tend to invest their efforts on the largest sources of waste. Unfortunately, new research shows that most energy waste is caused by the accumulation of hundreds of smaller inefficiencies that are overlooked.

Before big data was readily available, it was nearly impossible for organizations to conduct energy audits on the micro-scale. They needed to invest their resources fixing larger problems.  Lauren Heplerwrites that big data technology has changed their perspective and is making energy audits more thorough.

“From measuring the amount of water used in obscure mechanical processes to quantifying a company’s global energy use in a day, one challenge with emerging energy management systems is addressing both large- and small-scale efficiency issues… Expect those quagmires to only get murkier for the time being, as tech trends such as the Internet of Things bring new types of sensor-equipped devices online and provide ever-more opportunities to quantify energy use.”

Educating Consumers


People around the world are beginning to grasp the harsh realities of climate change. They want to do their part to minimize the global carbon footprint, but they need to be pointed in the right direction.

Big data helps people understand what factors have the biggest impact. It will inspire them to make the changes they need in their everyday lives.


Big Data May be the Key to Boosting Energy Efficiency and Solving Climate Change

Energy waste and climate change are among the biggest problems in the developed world. Fortunately, new advances in big data technology are paving the way for new solutions. Qiu, Jain and their colleagues will look to big data in the years ahead as they try to deal with the challenges of improving energy efficiency and promoting sustainability.


Ryan Kade is the editor overseeing contributed content at Smartdata Collective and contributes weekly column.