It’s safe to say that 2020 took everyone by storm. While society is still focused on environmental stewardship, it sees sustainability through a new lens. Trends in sustainability software and technology going into 2021 reflect that new perspective. Here are some of the top sustainability technologies that are expected to be on people’s minds in the near future.
Safe, Sustainable Sanitizing Solutions
In an effort to keep areas protected from unseen microbes, businesses and households have seen a significant increase in paper and water consumption. People are literally cleaning as if their lives depend upon it. Rather than lose all of the gains that society has made towards paper and water conservation, research scientists at Columbia University decided to come up with a more elegant solution.
Dr. David Brenner and his team discovered that far-UVC light kills coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2, which is the one that causes COVID-19. They’ve developed a lamp that can be installed in indoor spaces such as offices, public transportation venues, and schools to limit the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
This UVC light technology has far-reaching impacts for sustainable public health. It’s a far superior disinfecting solution than touchless fogging that has the potential of filling indoor air at sensitive locations such as schools and nursing homes with toxic fumes. It also allows facility operators to keep indoor spaces cleaner without using more paper and water. The lamp kills all viruses. As a result, sustainability technologies such as this one put society in a better position to handle the next new virus outbreak.
3D Printing for Inventory on Demand
In today’s uncertain environment, supply chains need to be more secure than ever before. That means avoiding making items that aren’t needed right away and being ready to move products at a moment’s notice that are considered to be essential goods.
While 3D printing technology has been around for decades, it has mostly been used as a quick and affordable way to prototype components. Manufacturers are now using 3D printers in their spare parts inventory management strategy. Instead of making spare parts for critical equipment and machinery and storing them in a warehouse until a dealer places an order for them, parts manufacturers keep the parts’ specifications cataloged in a digital library. When dealers place an order, parts makers load the specifications into the 3D printer and produce the parts on demand.
3D printing digital inventory helps manufacturers to avoid waste since all parts aren’t guaranteed to find homes with dealers. It also saves warehouse space that can be used to store other in-demand products prior to distribution to retail shelves.
AI Price Tags to Reduce Food Waste
For years, industry experts warned the global community about the possibility of future food insecurity. Well, the future is now. Mandatory shut-downs that led to widespread unemployment have exacerbated the problem. An Israel-based grocer has responded by developing software that detects when perishable items are near their best-by dates and automatically lowers prices on those items. The artificial intelligence-enabled price tags display the new optimized prices for customers in hopes of enticing them to buy the discounted goods. This system helps to cut down on food waste and capture more revenue for grocery stores.
Data Analysis for Vertical Farms
Space-saving vertical farms are trending in the agricultural community. The opportunity to grow more produce on limited land resources is too good to miss. However, farmers are striving for more eco-friendly gains by using farm management sustainability software that employs sensors and automation to detect when and where water and other resources are needed.
Change is a part of life, and society’s sustainability focus must shift to accommodate those changes. These sustainability technology products help to shed light on a new path towards effective environmental stewardship.