5 ways to fight the heat using IoT

Written by Helena Furgoni

6th September 2019

Summer 2019 was a scorching season in the whole Europe, and in France, the hot weather is still exhausting us. While the heat record has reached 48°C (118°F) in Greece, France is ranked at the sixth place in the highest temperatures recorded this summer, with 46°C. Since 2003, these episodes are following one another. If it is impossible to act directly on climate at this time, it is still possible to protect ourselves. Nowadays, IoT solutions exist that allow us to support these heat waves and live our daily lives as best as we can. Here is a list of IoT uses during heavy heat.

1. Home automation 

Home automation is one of the most appropriate answers during warm weather. As a reminder, home automation – or domotics –  brings together all the IoT solutions applied to the house. Different uses are relevant for a hot weather context, particularly openings automation (shutters, windows…). Many solutions exist, for every type of window. Openings automation allows to anticipate the home’s sun exposure, thus letting the light in by opening the shutters on shaded facades, while keeping coolness by closing the sunlit ones. By applying together the temperature, light and time schedule’s variables, it’s easy to optimize one’s house to keep an acceptable temperature. Real time capture of warmth level also allows to create alerts, enabling a quick reaction – because cooling down is always harder.

2. Air conditioning

One of the most appreciated solution during hot weather is the use of air conditioning, at home, at work or in public transportation. While we know today that air conditioning may lead to inconveniences (as cold symptoms) caused by extreme temperature variations (don’t forget that the difference between inside and outside the room mustn’t exceed 8°C, in order to avoid a too violent change to the body!), the possibility to connect its air conditioning system seems to be a great solution to avoid these inconveniences. 

Furthermore, according to a report published in May 2019 by the International Energy Agency, air conditioning represents today 10% of Mondial energy consumption. Air conditioning systems are extremely energy-intensive, that’s why using IoT allows to control its consumption and make savings, while adopting a more ecological attitude. A temperature sensor associated with an air conditioning system allows to optimize energy consumption by analyzing in real time the data and cooling only when it’s necessary. Sensibo or tado° are companies specialized in IoT systems for air conditioning, and offer solutions adapted to every need. 

Air conditioning in the house brings a real relief to vulnerable people, who require a special care by warm weather.

3. Solidarity-based solutions

2003’s heatwave will be remembered, as one of the warmest but also the deadliest,  because of the 15 000 deaths which occurred in France between august the 1st and the 20th. Today, repeating again and again to drink ½ liter of water every day and to close the shutters as soon as the sun comes up is no longer the only solution to take care of the most vulnerable people.  

Nowadays, IoT allows to monitor several environmental variables, and the health condition of people, all from a remote location. In this way, we can   be warned via an application if the temperature is too high, and thus rush to the place or by making remote contact to remind to close the shutters. A real time connection to the meteorology services allows to be alerted immediately if the area goes on heatwave alert, and to take the most appropriate actions. 

The main voice assistants (like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa) allow to plan reminders as well, like closing the windows when waking up in the morning or drinking water frequently. Auxivia, a French start-up dedicated to solve the issues of the elderly, developed a connected glass which records the amount of water drunk during the whole day, and gently lights up to remind people to drink. 

A lot of solutions exist to take care of others and help them to live the warmer season the best they can, by improving their comfort, but also reducing the sanitary issues.

4. The Smart city application

To improve the citizen’s comfort, and reduce the impact of heatwaves, an effort must also be undertaken by the cities.  A lot of connected solutions, relevant to everyday situations, are particularly appreciated during these periods. We can notably count on the implementation of smart mobility solutions. By developing these solutions, cities tackle the problem of pollution peaks – corollary to heatwaves, while adopting an eco-friendly behavior. If the use of individual cars is discouraged, or even prohibited by certain measures (like a label system in some cities), alternative transport modes must be planned by the city. Public transports, bicycles, electric vehicles… The solutions seem endless to relieve traffic congestions without putting citizens in problematic situation. 

However, if public transportation is available in some cities, it’s usually not designed to withstand such heat.  As a result, breakdowns are frequent, lines are congested, and people faint inside the trains due to very high temperatures and an overcrowded environment, slowing down the traffic even further. The use of sensors makes possible the optimization of temperature management in transport, the regulation of traffic by alerting users in real time of the congestion state, and preventive maintenance by anticipating accidents and breakdowns. 

But thanks to IoT, the entire architecture of the city is changing and is outpacing these more and more frequent great summer heat waves. More attention is paid to the hot points, by promoting the presence of vegetation and shaded areas. By considering the city in its totality, in order to increase comfort and optimize energy consumption, some buildings which require special attention are placed in key locations. Thus, we can find schools, nurseries, hospitals, or retirement houses in the coolest places in the city.

According to a report by the ADEUS (Agence de Développement et d’Urbanisme de l’agglomération Strasbourgeoise), parks and gardens form “islands of freshness” within cities. The use of sensors to improve the management of green spaces like humidity sensors to optimize automatic watering management and save water, is a leverage for installing IoT solutions to help counteract heat waves in the city. 

Always for the good of humanity, IoT helps to relieve everyday life in the warmest moments. In the city or directly in the heart of the home, these solutions help to manage your energy consumption, but also to take care of you and your family.

5. Care before crawl!

For the lucky ones who have a swimming pool at home, keep an eye on the water temperature. When it exceeds 28°C, micro-organisms (like fungi, algae…) tend to proliferate.  The pool then turns from blue to green! To avoid this phenomenon, precautions should be taken, such as monitoring the temperature and Ph of the water. Today, IoT solutions make it possible to be warned in real time when the temperature rises, and when it’s necessary to adjust the water treatment: products such as pHin or Flipr make possible to constantly monitor the water chemistry of your pool.