From our members: How to save energy and reduce CO2 with achieving optimal indoor climate at the same time?

There are different challenges in commercial buildings management. Comfortable indoor climate remains no.1 priority always. If it was not so then we could save a lot in engineering, construction and also 100% of energy costs can be saved – no need for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Cooling) and lightning at all 😊 

Why is comfort so important? Beside building users’ (employees, visitors) well-being and satisfaction it is also serious about physical health and decision making. Yes, you read it right – indoor climate affects the decision making also. Probably you have felt in your office that you just needed a break to get some fresh air… There are several research papers about that topic, here is one example   

If we “translate” it to business language – a better indoor climate means more money from more visitors and helping employers in their “War-on-Talent” with happier and more productive employees with less sick days.

Efficiency is another important aspect in business. If we speak about commercial real estate and indoor climate, then during the 20 year period construction costs of HVAC-system apply for ca 25-30%, energy costs ca 60% and HVAC-system maintenance&renewal ca 10-15%. Buildings’ technical managers can not say too much about construction costs but all other HVAC related costs will depend on their decisions a lot. Advanced BMS (Building Management System) is the most used tool to make their work easier and more efficient. It is quite usual to hear that “everything is efficient in our building, we have a new BMS”. But – as long as it is operated by humans, unfortunately, it can not be operated the most efficient way! Why so?  

Just a simple example: A shopping mall opens at 10.00 a.m. every morning. So the ventilation units (AHUs) are turned on at 9.30 to be sure that there will be a required fresh air level in the mall for 10.00. But is it energy efficient? One day may-be yes. But the next day outside temperature has changed, indoor climate parameters from the last night are different – may-be it would be more efficient to turn AHUs on at 9.42? Or 9.34? And may-be the weather forecast says that outside temperature will decrease starting from 11.16 – it is clear that it should be taken into account also but how? And then an electricity price (if it is not fixed but based on exchange price) – if you know it will be the highest between 8.30 and 10.15 – what to do?    

This is just “the tip of an iceberg”. In bigger buildings, there are thousands of automation system data points and mechanical components. For example, one new 63.500m2 shopping mall in Helsinki has over 60.000 data points! No humans can observe all of these. The same about calibrating HVAC system mechanical components’ parameters.   

And one more question – actually this is the number 1 concern at all – do BMS and all HVAC components work as they have to? Who can validate if the BMS is installed and calibrated as required by BMS provider and building’s design company or not? In one 30.000m2 hotel, a BMS and 2 highly skilled engineers found 30 technical problems. R8 Digital Operator found 300…! 

Present real estate owners and managers live in an era when technology is developing extremely fast. Most of real estate technical managers are doing a very good job. With a combination of AI-based solutions like R8 Digital Operator, they are finally able to step from “very good” to “excellent”! Because AI based on advanced algorithms can analyse in detail building HVAC data to detect faults and write the most optimal parameters for achieving comfort with minimal costs 24/7. There is a case even where a shopping mall jumped from LEED Silver to LEED Platinum and the role of AI was really remarkable there (more info available here).

It is extremely annoying to change your working regime and habits. And it is really hard to believe that you even do not have to change anything except leaving most of the stupid tasks for AI to have much better results.  But it is true and thus there is no reason (and chance) to fight against technology development. Do you remember typing machines – probably you have left using it for now. But you still type, using a keyboard of your PC. 

Come and benefit from new AI-based technologies in real estate management!

Imre-Gustav Vellamaa

R8tech Co-founder and Board Member

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