How these companies are using real-time data to fight the war on waste

Image: iStock/simonkr
This article is sponsored by Schneider Electric, showcasing energy cost savings one digitalisation report at a time.  »
  • Schneider Electric has developed data analysis technology that allows companies to monitor their day-to-day energy and waste output.
  • The technology utilises the Internet of Things to measure waste, gas and electricity levels in real-time.
  • Using this technology, appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation has achieved zero waste-to-landfill in three locations.
  • Entertainment venue company AEG has reportedly saved over $3 million dollars and diverted 53% of its worldwide waste from winding up in landfill.

Given the state of the climate and a growing push for companies to start taking stock of their environmental footprints, more and more businesses are turning to data analysis to evaluate their impact.

Across the globe, refined sustainability practices are becoming more of a necessity rather than a nice-to-have option, as companies are being held accountable for their energy consumption and waste output.

Schneider Electric is one of the companies developing data analysis technology that allows companies to monitor their day-to-day output — keeping track of exact energy and waste levels in order to identify problem areas.

Whirlpool Corporation was one the most prominent companies to have digitally transformed the way it measures output, using Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Resource Advisor, which aggregates cross-enterprise energy and sustainability data into a single dashboard of actionable insights.

The technology utilises the Internet of Things (interconnectivity between physical devices) to collect in real time waste, gas and electricity data and send to a cloud-based analytics platform.

Whirlpool’s initial goal was implementing an actionable waste-reduction strategy across 40 manufacturing sites internationally which would see the company enact a ‘zero waste-to-landfill’ policy by 2020.

According to Whirlpool Corporation’s Global Sustainability Director, Ron Voglewede, “it was easy to create a big goal, but we had to figure out how to measure it”.

A case study from Schneider Electric found that by utilising the EcoStruxure Resource Advisor, Whirlpool has since achieved the zero waste-to-landfill goal in three Brazilian locations (ahead of schedule) with more to follow.

The technology also identified key areas of inefficient production. As an example, within Whirlpool’s Ohio plants alone there has been an identified output of over 9 million kilograms of cardboard waste since the beginning of the partnership.

By eliminating that excess, the company is projected to save over $1 million dollars over the next few years.

But Whirlpool isn’t the only company making significant changes in waste management and reaping the rewards.

According to Schneider Electric, entertainment venue management company AEG has saved over $3 million dollars and diverted 53% of their worldwide waste from winding up in landfill since using the technology.

AEG manages some of Australia’s biggest venues like Sydney’s ICC and Qudos Bank Arena plus global icons like London’s O2 and the NBA Champion’s Golden State Warriors home arena in California.

Where Whirlpool’s central concern was waste reduction, for AEG the focus is more on the purchasing of energy to power its venues.

By using the Resource Advisor to identify the core energy needs of the business and leveraging those insights to procure better rates across the venue locations, AEG was reported to save millions in excess energy costs.

The tangible impact that this had on AEG’s operational expenditure has meant that it can focus its sights more narrowly on furthering the elimination of waste-to-landfill in the future.

By enabling companies to keep track of their output, both in terms of energy and waste, the impact on energy management and waste reduction could be instrumental in fighting the war against waste – and staving off further negative effects on the climate.

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