Report: Wireless Could Reduce Energy Use, Save Billions

Expanded use of wireless technologies could reduce energy use and save billions of dollars, according to a new BSR report.
by , | October 11, 2011

A more wireless world could save billions of dollars in energy spending and revolutionize the sustainably effort in American industries, according to a report released on Tuesday by BSR, sponsored by CTIA-The Wireless Association, a lobbyist group for telecommunications companies.

The study reviewed the potential impact of wireless communications in four areas: transportation, energy, agriculture and the public sector. Those industries were selected based on their embrace of wireless technology to improve efficiency, according to a CTIA news release accompanying the report.

Its findings were striking: for example, in the public sector, smart traffic applications could allow urban planners to lessen the environmental impact of public infrastructure and public service delivery. If applied on a wider scale, those programs could shrink fuel consumption on urban roadways up to 20 percent.

For trucking companies, better fleet management through wireless technology, which would reduce the number of empty or under-utilized trucks on the road, could eliminate 9 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually and save $3,600 in annual fuel costs per truck.

Wireless networks have also been integrated into water and electricity systems, promoting lower energy use and allowing utility companies to take more timely action in the event of an emergency. Smart grids, if implemented nationally, could reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 360 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 68 million vehicles off the road, according to the report.

In agriculture, farmers are using data gathered by wireless technology to find a more efficient mixture of land, fertilizers, pesticides and water to improve crop and livestock production. Wider application of wireless technology on the nation's farms could reduce water usage by 11 to 50 percent, BSR estimates.

The report is the latest piece of evidence that U.S. wireless companies need more spectrum to be made available by the nation's lawmakers, Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA, said in a statement. The congressional deficit reduction committee members have urged President Barack Obama to expand spectrum auctions, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has pushed for more airwave auctions.

"Clearly, wireless technology is having a profound and positive effect on the environment today and will become even more prominent in the future," Largent said.

The BSR report was based on case studies of companies and government entities with innovative sustainability initiatives. UPS, Duke Energy, Grape Networks and the city of San Francisco were some of the participants.

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