AI, big data to be used increasingly for energy savings in commercial buildings
Artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning will increasingly be put to use monitoring the energy performance of buildings and helping owners cut costs, according to Keith Gunaratne, the founder and managing director of technology firm EP&T.
Founded in 1993, EP&T specialises in the development of energy conservation technologies in the commercial sector. One of its products, Edge Zeus – an AI and machine-learning platform that allows energy performance to be monitored and controlled through a mobile device – has been deployed in 12 buildings in the portfolio of the Abu Dhabi Financial Group, or ADFG.
In one of the buildings – Abu Dhabi’s Seaside Tower – the technology has led to a 29 percent reduction in energy consumption and cost savings of over AED 626,000 in a 12-month period.
“What we would like to see in the local market is an accommodative environment that fosters the take-up of data science as a solution that remains attractive to the c-suite,” Gunaratne said. “In this market, it appears that too often property owners have been let-down by tech providers because promises have been made and not fulfilled.”
“It’s very important for customers to have legal guarantees in place in order to ensure a healthy ROI on technology and data analytics,” he added.
Additionally, Gunaratne said that he believes AI and machine learning-enabled energy savings technology has been increasingly important in a soft real estate market.
“[It] is invaluable to customers struggling with weakened top line growth due to lower occupancy and retail spend, because they can improve both operational efficiency and conditions for tenants,” he said. “Occupier engagement is increasingly important for ensuring retention and healthy income.”
Gunaratne added that he believes there is “naturally a degree of cynicism” towards such IoT and AI solutions in the UAE.
“[This] is simply due to the reality of many service providers not delivering on proposed savings,” he said. “We are confident that as the supplier-customer dynamic evolves to protect clients at a legal and financial level, by guaranteeing results, take-up will accelerate.”
“The UAE is building up to Expo 2020 to prepare for unprecedented footfall over the next few years,” he added. “This presents a challenge, as more people and buildings will contribute to an increased carbon footprint. One of the core aims of our technology platform is to help contain that.