Using sensors connected to KPN’s nationwide LoRa (long range) network and its IoT platform, the new Faunasensor solution means builders can monitor the movements of birds and bats in nesting boxes equipped with low-power batteries to prove that each specific species is being properly safeguarded against the disruption of local construction.

National goals for cutting carbon emissions through reduced energy consumption mean large-scale renovations are in place for the rental housing sector in the Netherlands. A new low-power IoT solution from KPN will help real estate companies avoid harming the natural environment as they do the work of making more than a million homes more energy-efficient.

Sometimes, doing the right thing isn’t straightforward

Putting plans in place to ensure that rented accommodation in the Netherlands is doing its part to help achieve national sustainability goals by 2030 means that renovation will be required on more than 1.5 million homes. Under a government agreement with the construction, engineering and energy sectors, 300,000 existing homes and other buildings will be made more energy-efficient every year, with incentive schemes now in place to help landlords fund renovation projects.

Construction work on such a large scale can unfortunately have a negative impact on the natural environment, including the local wildlife, and so it is fortunate that KPN and engineering firm Arcadis have designed a solution leveraging low-power connectivity to protect three animal species.

Using the internet of things (IoT) to make sure there are no unintended consequences as the country works towards sustainability, property owners and construction companies can now comply with the Nature Conservation Act, which separately requires that measures must be taken before the start of any renovation project to protect the established animal species in the area.

Faunasensor provides a monitoring solution

Previously, environmental monitoring took ecologists in the field years to measure and to study the impacts of construction. Now, 24×7 monitoring enabled by frequent sensor readings that use very low bandwidth provides real-time data collection and analysis in an online dashboard, providing insights on both the animal population and the efficacy of the building project itself.

KPN installed the first Faunasensor connected nesting boxes recently, aiming to deploy 100 in the first few weeks and expanding it eventually to a nationwide service.

Environmental monitoring is a well-established IoT use case accounting for 9% of European deployments in GlobalData’s IoT Deployment Tracker. LoRa is used for connecting about 11% of those so far, employed primarily by the agriculture sector and local and regional authorities to monitor water and soil conditions, temperature, humidity, and lighting. KPN has already provided solutions for canal management, along with LoRa-based use cases for logistics and transportation organizations, but nearly all of these were deployed for individual organizations on a bespoke basis.

By contrast, the Faunasensor solution is a first for the use of LoRa network technology for wildlife monitoring as a service in support of, and in compliance with, government legislation and regulation. It can be used by organizations in the construction and real estate sectors to comply with two different national goals and requirements aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability in the Netherlands, without having to conduct their own solution design and implementation. In this way, doing the right thing a big way — renovating all apartment buildings to support a sustainable energy transition — won’t end up inadvertently harming the local environment in unfortunate and unforeseen ways.