Can Tech Stop Climate Change? (A Conversation with tado° and Lana Labs)
Interviews Geneva Brooks
On Friday, September 20th, Honeypot is joining Greta Thunberg’s global climate strike. As a developer-focused job platform, we are keenly aware of the role that technology plays in our lives and in our world. When it comes to climate change, tech (and more specifically the developer community) provides some of our greatest hopes for lessening humanity’s overall impact.
In preparation for the strike, we spoke with two Honeypot clients, tado° and Lana Labs, about their thoughts on tech and climate change. Environmental activism may not be the first thing that jumps to mind when you hear home heating or process mining–but perhaps it should be. These two forward-thinking companies show that there are many ways to use our modern tools to make a positive difference. Read on to find out how they do it!
Home Climate Management
Interview with Paul Hughes, Head of PR & Communications at tado°
Q: How would you describe tado° to someone who has never heard of you? *
A: tado° is dedicated to intelligent home climate management. Around 30% of global energy consumption is used for heating, cooling, and hot water of buildings, and in the future all buildings will be heated and cooled intelligently. We make Smart Thermostats for heating and cooling systems and focus on software and services to save you energy and improve your comfort at home. This means you can control your home and individual room temperatures from anywhere, anytime, through your smartphone.
Q: Can you explain how you are using software to ensure homes are intelligently heated?
A: tado° develops hardware and software, but the real focus and intelligence of our products lie in the software side of things. We have several features that save our users energy by ensuring that the heating is turned down when the last person leaves home. tado° Smart Thermostats also save energy when open windows are detected and use algorithms to adapt to the weather and make use of sunshine and natural heat. You can even control tado° through your existing smart home devices and voice assistants.
Q: How do you see the future of technology when it comes to climate change action? What are you most excited for when you look at this future?
A: The effects of climate change are being felt more than ever and this has helped to accelerate both the will and technological capabilities to live in a more sustainable world. There are many exciting technological developments that can make a real impact, and this is especially true in our field. Homes consume a huge amount of energy, with heating and hot water making up over three quarters of home energy use – and a big part of that is wasted. Smart Thermostats not only ensure that heat is never wasted; they can also increase the share of renewable energy use at home. How? Renewable energy is cheaper at the point when it is being generated, but it is expensive to store. What if we could give homeowners and residents the option to heat their homes when the wind blows and the sun shines. This would give residents cheaper energy, while increasing the amount of renewable energy that is used - a win-win for your wallet and the environment.
Q: What are your favorite resources for someone who is looking for ways to live a greener life?
A: We try to encourage the philosophy that everyone can make a difference, that we don’t have to rely on others. There are innumerable resources out there; find out where you are consuming the most energy, and producing the most CO2, and think about what you can realistically do about it – this doesn’t necessarily have to come at the expense of your comfort or convenience. Today it can be easy to be smarter about your energy use, while recycling, taking more public transport/cycling, or cutting down on meat and dairy are within the grasp of most people.
Penguins and Process Mining
Interview with Jonny Ehrich - Marketing & Content Manager at Lana Labs
Q: How would you describe Lana Labs to someone who has never heard of you?
A: We are a software company focused on making businesses more efficient and productive. Our tool LANA uses process mining to translate the data stored in a company’s IT systems into actionable insights into their business processes. We use process mining to make business process (like production and procurement) transparent, which gives companies a fact-based foundation for sustainable improvements and optimization measures. The end results are better resource efficiency and improved performance.
Q: Can you walk me through the connection between process mining and environmentalism?
A: It is true, the connection between optimizing business processes and saving the environment might not be apparent on first glance, but by using our product, businesses can cut down on unnecessary rework, resource-consuming process loops, and delays due to factors like logistical issues.
An example: A manufacturing company notices that they experience a high amount of delays and additional rework in their main production process. They analyze the process with LANA and find out: 90% of items that needed additional modification went through one specific workstation. With this knowledge, the company now optimizes the identified root cause of the problem (such as a faulty machine). The result: not only is the production faster and more cost-efficient, the company also saves a huge amount of other resources (manpower, energy, materials).
Bottom line, the company made their process more sustainable. Resource efficiency isn’t just crucial for business, it has a direct impact on the environment as well – the less energy, time and materials a company has to put into their process, the smaller their impact on the environment.
Q: You have become the biggest supporter of the Magellanic penguin colony in southern Chile… why this bird? Where did the decision to support these penguins come from?
A: We all have to choose our battles, a single company cannot save the environment on its own. For us, the focus fell on saving penguins.
It was very important for us to take a stand and actively support environmental protection efforts. The fact that we focus on the Magellanic penguin in particular originally came about through our founders’ personal fondness for those animals – the penguin even made it into our company logo, after all. Since then, it has grown into something bigger.
With every new software license sold and every new employee at Lana Labs, we adopt a penguin in our colony in Southern Chile. With this, we want to bridge the perceived gap between an abstract field such as data analysis, and our impact on the real world. The penguin has become a symbol for our focus on sustainability. That is why we use the tagline: improve the world, one process at a time.
Q: How do you see the role of technology in the global fight against climate change? What are you most excited about when you look at the future of technology and climate change action?
A: It is great to see so many companies, big and small, step up to actively fight climate change. In the past, most technological innovations came to the detriment of the environment (from early industrialization to the adoption of nuclear power without a solution for nuclear waste disposal). It is inspiring to see that slowly, this is being turned on its head – many of our current technological breakthroughs have the specific goal of saving the environment, not exploiting it.
This awareness is one of the biggest driving factors in our fight against climate change. Individual actions on a personal level are a great start, whether that’s cutting down on your meat consumption or taking the bike to work, but meaningful change on a global scale has to happen on a much higher level. We can only hope that the work that’s being done by innovative thought leaders in our field acts as a beacon to the big players, from corporations to national governments.
From individual changes to large-scale undertakings, tech is already tackling some of the biggest environmental issues of our time. Companies like tado° and Lana Labs are clear examples that environmentally-minded companies can combat both the causes and the effects of climate change with technology.
So can tech stop climate change? We believe it can, and it’s up to all of us to make sure there is sufficient will to support the advancements being made (and those still to come).
We hope you’ll join us–wherever you are–for the Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20!