Bringing Blue Sky Back with Smart Energy Management

By DBS, 16 May 2022

Most people are familiar with the Internet, which has been in use for decades. A more recent innovation is the Internet of Things (IoT), a concept derived from the Internet that has rapidly evolving applications in everyday life. From lights and cars to chairs and air conditioners, IoT can connect physical objects through a network such as the Internet, enabling smart features that cannot be achieved by one device alone.

This is being harnessed by the Hong Kong-based social enterprise Blue Sky Energy Technology to realise a more sustainable future. In recent years, the company has made use of IoT to monitor energy performance in real time and optimise air quality and eco-efficiency where people live and work.

Monitoring energy consumption through IoT

Surrounded by high-rise buildings, Hong Kong people spend more than 90% of the time indoors.1 It’s not hard to imagine the astronomical energy consumption that results from all of our indoor activities. In fact, 60% of Hong Kong’s carbon emissions – among the main causes of global warming – are attributable to generating electricity for our buildings.2

Blue Sky Energy Technology, one of the awardees of DBS Foundation Social EnterpriseGrant Programme 2021, is dedicated to keeping the sky blue by leveraging IoT to improve energy monitoring and environmental performance in the city’s buildings.

Although many of us learn from our parents, teachers and public service announcements that saving energy is good for the environment, it’s not always clear how we can achieve this in our homes and offices. A key problem is the lack of data. Typically, only the total power usage is shown on the electricity meter. Without more information on the energy consumption of specific devices, it’s hard to gauge the effectiveness of various energy-saving actions.

As Christina Tang, the company’s CEO and founder, explained: “We feel that there is a lack of transparency in our daily use of electricity, and people often find it hard to grasp the concept of kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is how electricity consumption is measured. This is why one of our aims is to make the concept more concrete and easy to understand. For example, how much energy is needed to charge a smartphone? How much carbon can be absorbed by a certain number of trees? When people know how to make estimations, they can more easily see how they impact the Earth. And once they have a clearer picture, they can be encouraged to make green lifestyle changes.”

IoT for sustainability

Blue Sky’s IoT solutions provide detailed and accurate data on a building’s energy consumption and other environmental performance indicators in real time. With the help of big data, customers can now obtain environmental performance data for their homes or offices. Blue Sky’s solutions adopt a human-centred approach, converting abstract and difficult metrics for energy consumption, air quality and other forms of environmental performance into concrete guidelines for a greener way of life.

As Christina said, “Not only can IoT make our life more convenient, but it can also help us achieve a sustainable lifestyle.” With IoT sensors, Blue Sky can monitor and optimise indoor air quality as well as the energy use of different appliances. Using this information, the company can then design behavioural changes and smart solutions to promote energy savings and create healthier living and working spaces.

Christina added, “The development of IoT in Hong Kong is quite mature. Using this technology to promote energy savings requires changes in people’s awareness, habits and behaviours. Public awareness of environmental protection has increased significantly in Hong Kong in recent years, but when more work needs to be done to go green, people tend to give up. With the right information and planning, a lot of green habits are actually easy to implement and have great benefits for the health of individuals and the overall environment in the long run.”

Blue Sky is committed to harnessing the power of technology and big data to make sustainable living concepts accessible to the wider public. Their IoT solutions are supported by their efforts in education and advocacy: they regularly share tips on green living habits via their app and social media. With the grants provided by the DBS Foundation, Blue Sky looks forward to scaling up their IoT network and smart technologies, as well as developing a rewards programme that will allow Blue Sky users to earn points by saving electricity. Living in a sustainable and energy-efficient way is both meaningful and doable, and Blue Sky plans to facilitate this shift, one building at a time.

Click here to learn more about the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Programme.


1, 2. Source: The Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2030+ https://www.climateready.gov.hk/files/report/en/5.pdf