The Internet of Things (IoT) is helping to better conserve, monitor and intelligently manage the utilities that we all depend on: electricity, gas and water.

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Whether it’s saving energy by identifying and eliminating waste, managing our home appliances, or preventing leaks with smart water meters, the Internet of Things is helping to reduce utility waste and it’s saving Australians millions of dollars in the process.

Energy retailer Origin wants to automatically improve our energy use by integrating IoT sensors, smart meters and smart devices into our homes. The idea is that sensors for detecting movement, temperature and humidity can leverage home wi-fi networks to interact with smart lights, plugs, appliances and gateway devices that hook up to a controller app on a smartphone.

Lights and appliances can be configured to automatically turn off or on at certain times or under certain circumstances (like if you leave or enter the room), which saves electricity and reduces bill costs. And better yet, all this data could help improve load balancing on the electrical grid — to more efficiently manage electricity production from solar, hydro, wind, coal and gas sources, or perhaps to automatically use off-peak electricity rates. All of this better optimises our everyday energy consumption.

Even before you get to our energy usage at home and work, we’re wasting huge amounts of electricity. Basement car parks, lifts, foyers, gardens, and other communal areas of apartment blocks, office buildings and hotels use tremendous amounts of power. But Wattblock is on a mission to change this — at least for the 2.2 million Australians who live in apartments.

The energy analytics start-up uses smart meters and IoT sensors to first quantify energy waste in apartment buildings. This shows strata organisations just how much money they’re losing from the outdated lighting, ventilation and hot water systems in their common areas.

Using techniques such as machine learning and A.I., Wattblock helps transition these buildings to more sustainable energy technologies such as solar and batteries, LED Lighting, heat pumps for hot water and even electric vehicle recharging stations. Wattblock has benchmarked energy savings of up to 80 percent and assisted some of the first apartment blocks in Australia to achieve 5 star environmental ratings.

These sorts of savings are not just great for businesses and residential buildings. They’re also great for the environment. With IoT powering innovation that brings smarter gains in efficiency and productivity, as well as larger reductions in wastage, we can do more with water and electricity while also using less of both.

We can protect our most precious ecosystems from the byproducts of industry and population growth and make big cuts to our carbon emissions. And we can do it all better than we ever could before.