Pontos’ portfolio company R8tech has recently been selected as member of Proptech Finland, a key network around real estate and construction innovation. R8tech’s artificially intelligent Digital Operator reduces energy consumption up to 20% in commercial buildings while maintaining high air quality indoors.
R8tech’s Digital Operator runs the indoor climate in the building. It heats, cools and ventilates the rooms at the right time for right amount. Digital Operator is a web-based software add-on for the Building Management System (BMS). Below, company’s co-founder and Board Member Imre-Gustav Vellamaa wrote about the role of AI in energy management.
In commercial real estate, during a 20-year period, construction costs of HVAC-system apply for ca 25-30%, energy costs ca 60% and HVAC-system maintenance and renewal ca 10-15%. Even though Building Management System makes technical managing of the building efficient, it’s still operated by humans. This means, for example, that in a shopping mall that opens at 10 am, the AHUs of ventilation units are turned on at 9.30 to be sure that there will be a required fresh air level in the mall for the time it opens to the visitors. That is, indoor climate affects the amenity of the indoors as a place to work, to visit, and to spend time in. It has a major impact on health and even decision-making capabilities.
But there are different challenges in commercial buildings’ management. Optimal indoor climate, which impacts greatly on comfort, is laborious to maintain while preserving continuous energy efficiency.
One day it may be energy-efficient to turn on the AHUs at 9.30, as in the example above. But on another day, outside temperature might have changed and the indoor climate parameters from last night may be different. Then, the optimal time to turn on AHUs would maybe be at 9.42 am or 9.34 am. Perhaps, the weather forecast will predict an outside temperature decrease from 11.16 am – and that should be taken into account in AHUs. But then again, the electricity price might be highest in that particular time. How should one operate with optimal energy management?
By automating the system with AI.
Digital Operator’s advanced algorithms can analyze building HVAC data in detail to detect faults and write the most optimal parameters for achieving comfort and energy efficiency with minimal costs 24/7.
For example, in November 2019, shopping and entertainment centre Viru Keskus jumped from LEED Silver to LEED Platinum rating in energy efficiency by using R8’s AI technology. Viru Keskus was awarded the only LEED O&M (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings’ Operations and Maintenance) Platinum Certificate for sustainable and environmentally friendly operation of a building in Estonia. Platinum is the highest level of this prestigious certificate.
In a shopping mall of 63.500m2, there are over 60.000 data points of which a machine can observe to optimize the energy use, but a human cannot. Recently, R8 Digital Operator found 300 technical problems in the BMS and HVAC components of a 30.000m2 hotel. Highly skilled engineers had only found 30. This is due to the fact that R8 uses such parameters that cannot be found by humans.
Real estate owners and managers live in an era of rapid technological advancement. Let’s take the next leap of progress together.