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British unis turn to AI to improve energy efficiency

Universities across Britain are to start employing artificial intelligence in a bid to cut energy costs by as much as 30 per cent

Posted by Julian Owen | February 20, 2018 | Technology

Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to be used by universities across the UK as they look to reduce energy costs. A pilot scheme involving Anglia Ruskin, Bath, Bristol, Newcastle, Regents and York universities is being facilitated by The Energy Consortium (TEC) - a contracting authority with many university members - and will mine smart-meter data, using AI, to identify energy waste, improve efficiency and cut costs.

The project, in partnership with AMR-DNA, will use AI software developed by kWIQly to interrogate huge volumes of energy consumption data, covering many hundreds of buildings to identify opportunities to improve efficiency.

TEC is running the trial through its Flexible Gas Framework and will be collaborating with estate management teams to evaluate the solution.

“As technology enables, and as climate-change really starts to bite, we must deliver solutions suited to overlooked and complex energy issues where so much goes unmanaged.'

Steve Creighton, Head of Member Services at TEC, explains: “Consumption reflects when a plant operates. Activity can be reverse engineered from consumption, allowing AI to search, quantify and prioritise. This makes it possible to manage problems on a daily basis for even the largest estates. As time-to-action is critical in reducing waste, early identification and diagnosis enables financial gains and carbon reduction for our members.”

Continuous estate oversight has the potential to expose significant opportunities for improving energy efficiency (eg. cutting energy costs and CO2), and AMR-DNA’s AI enables the rapid identification and resolution of problems.

James Ferguson, CEO of kWIQly, notes that: “As technology enables, and as climate-change really starts to bite, we must deliver solutions suited to overlooked and complex energy issues where so much goes unmanaged. If an energy manager can reduce energy spend by 30% or more in single buildings without major investment, then it is essential that waste is identified and savings are tracked automatically at scale. Simply put, this allows their energy management expertise to be greatly amplified.”

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