As the case gathers steam for making the cities we live in more sustainable from an energy perspective, property is turning an eye inwards to improving system efficiencies.
Ultimately, this sets the stage for a new era of buildings that are vastly more energy efficient and offer residents comfort knowing the places where they spend the majority of their time are leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible.
In truth, the processes surrounding how a building heats, cools and uses energy has remained virtually the same for close to a hundred years. Same processes equal the same dated inefficiencies. At the same time, artificial intelligence technology has had a major impact on how we connect with our cars and our family and friends, and how we go about gathering information. Essentially every aspect of modern life relies on some sort of interaction with smart technology and data.
So, what would happen if you applied smart technology to existing Building Automation Systems? Look at how any given building uses energy (the fans, motors, boilers, air conditioners) and then apply AI to analyse and report in real time on ways to make these heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems work better together. As it turns out, the two systems are amazingly compatible.
Parity was one of the first companies worldwide to not only create the smart AI technology that drives the HVAC system network but also to install it in existing buildings (in this case residential multi-family buildings) that for the most part use off-the-shelf building BAS systems. The results have been remarkable.
For instance, given the entire “retrofit” is marginally invasive and involves installing the AI brain, some sensors and controllers, buildings have seen decreases in energy usage across the board ranging from 20-30%. A 20-30% decrease in energy usage equates to both significant savings and a decrease in CO2 emissions. For Parity, demand for their services have quadrupled in their native Canada; they are now working on retrofitting large condos in the US.
In much of North America, large urban centres are crafting and deploying local bylaws that require condos to undertake an energy “audit” every two years to bring energy usage to the forefront with the ultimate goal of bringing awareness to just how much energy buildings use and nudging building owners, PMs and condo boards towards finding ways to decrease CO2 emissions. There are also talks of imposing penalties on those corporations that fail to deliver on reductions and in some areas grants and tax exemptions are offered when targets are met.
As the world’s megacities continue to grow, we’re faced with the undeniable fact that we have a finite amount of space on this tiny globe and that finding ways to make our impact the least disruptive not only makes good business sense but is ultimately no longer just an option.
Using smart AI technology may have some of the answers, not by becoming the exception, but by becoming standard practise. It’s just a matter of time and something every PM, condo board and corporation should be investing in.
- Brad Pilgrim is the CEO and co-founder of Parity in Toronto, Ontario Canada.