Oct 28, 2012

You don’t need a Smart Meter to be Smart

Joe Borza

College Green Campus Committee


In this technological age we sometimes forget that we can still be smart without the use of technology… but sometimes it helps.

Polar ice caps are melting, fish stocks are depleting, population growth is exploding, rainforests are disappearing, oil is running out and there is generally a lot of bad news on the environment out there. Is there something inevitable about this path to progress or can we change our business as usual development to create true sustainable development?

One concept gaining serious traction at the moment is the concept of smart technologies which, to put it mildly, will save us from ourselves. But do we need gadgets and software to solve the problems created by gadgets and software, or do we need to change our behaviour and act smarter? The answer is probably somewhere in between.

To test this theory, have a look at the much publicised and lauded smart meter. This technology will be installed in all our homes and businesses in Ireland over the next decade or so to help us reduce our energy and maybe even water consumption. These meters will do all sorts of smart things such as tell us the price of electricity and gas, how much we are using, tell the grid operators in real time how much is consumed and eliminate the need for a meter reader to visit the meter to know how much has been consumed. But will it change how we use energy? Not unless you want to allow a Big Brother type system control your energy use and run the risk of getting home early to find there’s no hot water for a shower or worse has turned off your recording of X-factor or Downton Abbey. People have been trying to decrease their utility bills for quite some time before the smart meters gained popularity, this was normally achieved (and still frequently is) by energy comparison hunting to identify cheaper monthly bills available, such as these you could find if you were to click here as an example. Now with homeowners wanting to also install smart meters, people are looking to decrease their bills even further with new energy plans, etc.

So what is the answer? Yes, smart technologies do have a place in addressing environmental and sustainability pressures but they will not work without allowing people to make the right choices and this might ultimately come down to just better education. Finding out more information regarding these sorts of devices could be as simple as checking out this smart meter texas guide, for example, just to get a better understanding of how the use of a smart meter can help with reducing energy/electricity usage within the home.

This education would be much like the current Trinity green campus programme which aims to use the Campus as a “Living Laboratory” where we are all educated in simple things, such as recycling, by just doing it as part of our daily routines.

So if you want to get involved in living “Smart”, what can you do?

First, check out the College’s newly revamped GreenPages. Here you will find all sorts of interesting information on how the College’s environmental management is performing, how you can help (simply by turning off the lights, using a recycling bin or cycling) and how to join the Green Campus Committee (which is open to all staff, students and alumni). Next, make a few little changes. It all counts.

Is it ironic that this article ends with a link to a smart technology website? You decide, but remember, without people being smart would this technology make any real difference?

Sign Up to Our Weekly Newsletters

Get The University Times into your inbox twice a week.