Using Data Analytics for a More Sustainable Future
Due to increasing concern about climate change and resource shortages, the search is on for ways to use energy and water more responsibly and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As Canada Research Chair in Data Analytics for Sustainability, Dr. Lukasz Golab is looking to smart infrastructure and data analytics (the science of examining raw data to draw conclusions) to help us achieve a more sustainable future.
Golab and his research team are developing software tools for analyzing the data generated by smart electricity and water meters. They are also analyzing social media to find ways to reduce barriers to adopting green technologies, such as electric cars.
The following example is an easy way to understand Golab’s work. Suppose a consumer noticed he was using a lot of electricity, but didn’t know why. He could use a smart meter data mining system developed by Golab’s research team to compare his usage to his neighbour’s. If his consumption was much higher, an obvious conclusion would be that a high-consumption appliance or other device was being plugged in all the time. With this information, the consumer could solve the problem by finding the problem appliance and turning it off or replacing it. By developing tools like this, Golab’s team hopes to reduce our use of resources. Reducing resource consumption, especially during peak times, will also minimize utility costs for consumers, and reduce the need for Canada to expand its electricity grid and water supply networks.