Within the ever-accelerating pace of technological progression, we believe, it is important to remain focused not only on innovation but also on environmental sustainability. Being mindful of the green sheen, we are for sure aware that mindlessly developing battery-powered connected devices that are deployed in thousands of pieces is just adding fuel to the fire. Having said that, stopping innovation and never ever designing another product is not the way forward either.
Product development and environmental responsibility must go hand in hand. As an orientation point, we claim that the lifetime value of a single battery powered product must outweigh the negative environmental impact it creates.
We are committed to developing hardware solutions in the most sustainable way possible. This blog will describe some of the approaches and methods we have in place to achieve this goal.
Useful, Long-lasting Devices
Our focus is not merely on producing devices, but on designing products in a way that they will remain extensively used for a long period of time. We make sure we make our designs future-proof to prevent them from becoming obsolete and idly collecting dust after a year.
We strive to avoid contributing negatively to the environment by creating unnecessary electronic waste. Before even starting the engineering work, we make sure we have a thorough understanding of the use case. We work with our clients to answer the questions like:
- How will the current users’ needs change in 5 years?
- Are there any other potential user groups?
- What is a sensible targeted lifespan?
- What are your costs of maintenance (based on location, expertise, etc.)?
We then assess and try to predict how technology will change in the foreseeable future, so we can plan the design principles accordingly. The most important technical aspects of future-proof design are:
- stable connectivity,
- long battery life,
- remote debugging capabilities,
- over-the-air upgrade capabilities and
- durable mechanics.
Case Study: The Powerline Monitoring Device
A prime example of our commitment to building long-lasting devices is our collaboration with Izoelektro. Together we developed the RAM-1, a powerline monitoring device designed with a lifespan of up to ten years. This advanced device is used for the consistent monitoring and maintenance of electrical grid isolators. By maximizing the devices’ lifespan we reduce the need for regular replacement and the costs associated with it. This way we ensure a sustainable solution that brings value to our clients for 10 years after installation. Not to mention that the RAM-1 itself significatly contributes to the environment as it enables Izoelektro to spot forest fires in most remote areas before they spread to an uncontrollable level.
Contributions to Non-profit Organizations
We are proud to say that since the beginning IRNAS has been involved as a product design house in numerous projects that address environmental preservation and nature conservation. We continue to support the hard work of the people at the front lines by subsidizing engineering development for non-profit projects with environmental significance.
Here are some organizations that we are most proud of supporting:
Battery Life Extension and Battery-less Technologies
We believe that technologies aimed at extending battery life or eventually eliminating the need for batteries altogether are playing an important role. We are working with companies like Plant-e, which are developing plant-microbial fuel cells to harvest electrical energy from microbial activity in the plant’s roots.
Think of it this way: every time we manage to halve the power consumption of our device, we’re effectively doubling its lifespan on a single battery. Its environmental impact is reduced and our customer’s money is saved.
Renewable Energy in Production
Our commitment to the environment extends beyond our products and into our day-to-day operations. Harnessing the power of the sun, our building is outfitted with a 65kW solar power plant, producing more electricity than we consume. This allows us to walk towards the path of energy self-sufficiency while reducing our carbon footprint.
A collective mindset
We are not alone in this. Some of the attributes of durable devices are collected in the ‘Better Devices Manifesto’. It encompasses a collective pledge to produce hardware that is carbon-neutral, durable, non-toxic, open-source, recyclable, repairable, secure, supported, updatable, and user-friendly. It is this manifesto that guides operations and a shared vision for a sustainable future.
We’re on a mission to produce state-of-the-art solutions without compromising the health of our planet. We understand that the journey toward environmental sustainability is an ongoing collective process, and we’re committed to it wholeheartedly.
We invite you to engage with us on this mission. Learn more about our work, share our message, or teach us something new and contribute your ideas. Together, we can shape a more sustainable future.