Web-Based Digital Habitat Ecosystems for Sustainable Built Environments

Web-Based Digital Habitat Ecosystems for Sustainable Built Environments

Kamatchi Pillai (Victoria University, Australia) and Cagil Ozansoy (Victoria University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4852-4.ch031
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This chapter introduces the Digital Ecosystem (DE) concept and its application in the home environments. DEs are clusters of distributed and diverse digital components, which interact with each other in a self-organising, scalable, and sustainable manner. This could be viewed similar to the interaction of living organisms in a biological ecosystem. The DE concept has traditionally found widespread use in the business environments. However, the concept can well be applied to the home environment, giving rise to the concept of Digital Habitat Ecosystem (DHE). Thus a DHE refers to a cluster of devices for measurement, control, and sensing of environment parameter with the help of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The primary incentive behind this chapter is to show how the DHE concept can be used for maximising the utilisation of vital resources, such as water and electricity, in the home environment and leading to a more sustainable living. Furthermore, the work outlined in this chapter proposes Digital Habitat Ecosystem Architecture (DHEA), which integrates the various digital elements of a home network in a holistic manner. However, there are some current digital system architectures such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) available these days; this chapter discusses the shortcomings of the SOA architecture and how the proposed DHEA will rectify the same. In addition, this chapter gives an overview of the static web based model of the home management system, how dynamic DHE varies from those existing models.
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Sustainable Living

Global warming is gradually, but incessantly, degrading the earth’s ecosystems. It has to do with the way we live, work, use, and pollute. Figure 1 depicts some of the causes and effects of global warming; and furthermore, is suggests strategies and possible solutions.

Figure 1.

Global warming and sustainability


Fossil fuel burning for electricity generation is one of the most significant contributors to the CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions in the world. The need to reduce CO2 emissions has been driving the transition towards small-scale and decentralized generation of power, and as far as possible from renewable sources. However, the uptake of renewable energy systems has been slow and is expected to remain slow due to the inability of these systems to compete with coal-fired generation in terms of the cost of generation. At the same time, humanity keeps polluting the world and depleting its natural resources such as forests, oil, and drinkable water resources at an alarming rate. Therefore, there is an urgent need to preserve natural resources, and one way to achieve this is to optimise the utilisation of natural and manufactured resources in the home environment.

Demand Side Management (DSM) and Energy/Water Efficiency (EWF) are concepts that relate to processes used for managing the consumption of energy, water and other resources by dealing with the quantity and patterns of use. Many countries including Australia are concentrating on DSM technologies to preserve energy (Guo, Zeman, & Li, 2010). DSM is the implementation of policies and measures which serve to control, influence and generally reduce electricity demand.

The use of sophisticated green technologies in the home can provide the means to save our planet from environmental degradation. By minimizing the consumption of resources such as water and electricity, as well as by re-using and recycling end products, we can contribute to Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD), i.e. development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

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