Artificial intelligence: The key to real estate’s energy transformation


Back in 2011, engineer and investor, Marc Andreessen, wrote that “software is eating the world.” Jump forward just 10 years and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is eating the same world all over again. As consumers we experience AI continuously throughout our daily lives from our interactions on social media, to the smart thermostats that are cooling/heating our homes, to the frequent recommendations we receive from Netflix and Amazon.

In the corporate world, the influence of AI is also growing larger. For example, the transportation industry continues to introduce progressively more advanced versions of autonomous vehicles and the banking industry deploys advanced algorithms to ensure transaction security and automate fraud detection.

Yet, for some industries it’s still early days when it comes to the implementation of advanced technology. This is the current reality for many in the commercial property industry.

At BrainBox AI, we aim to change that reality. We’ve taken the fundamentals of AI and applied them to commercial property and the results have proven to be exceptional in terms of energy optimization, carbon footprint reduction and improved customer experience.

For those that are new to AI-driven technologies, a good point of reference that covers the basics of AI can be found here.


Addressing a BIG problem

At BrainBox AI, we pride ourselves on trying to address the biggest problems faced in our industry. The emissions impact of commercial property fits squarely into that category.

Generally speaking, buildings have been built based on similar models for the last 40 years. As our cities and emissions continue to grow, innovation in real estate and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) specifically has been given little attention even though that are the major contributors to the global issue.

In fact, research has shown that HVAC in commercial buildings represents 10% of total energy consumed behind light duty cars (15%) and Residential HVAC (11%)[1]. Further studies have shown that on average, HVAC represents 45% of a commercial building’s total annual energy consumption, and that typically 30% of that energy is in fact, wasted.[2]

The main issue behind this waste is that HVAC structures are commonly designed as fixed systems or programmed for a fairly static environment, even though weather and occupancy are dynamic. Therefore, conventional systems contribute to higher energy bills, occupant discomfort and rising levels of greenhouse gases.

There is a significant potential for improvement in the way we operate HVAC systems in all buildings and an immense opportunity to decrease our energy spend.


How can AI help?

Applying artificial intelligence (AI) to HVAC allows these systems to operate proactively rather than reactively, enabling a continuous commissioning on the building. AI also supports constant monitoring, assessment, and adjustments of HVAC systems at a speed and with a degree of precision that is not humanly possible.

The proactive management of HVAC systems with AI is accomplished through the analysis of information coming from a multitude of internal (e.g. BMS, access control systems) and external (e.g. weather, occupancy, pollution, utility tariff structures) data points every few minutes, and delivering high quality predictions for each zone of the building.

In fact, our temperature predictions achieve 99.6% accuracy. For each zone in the building. When was the last time you were 99% certain about something?

BrainBox AI’s advanced model makes it possible to achieve extremely accurate predictions about the built environment, empowering the deployment of algorithms to drive the HVAC system to optimize energy flow. The result is a 24/7 self-operating building that requires no human intervention.

With its technology, BrainBox AI has been able to reduce total building energy costs by up to 25%, in less than three months, while also improving occupant comfort by 60% and decreasing the carbon footprint of a building by 20-40%.


What this all means for real estate 

The AI industrial revolution has arrived, and it is leading to better customer experience, lower emissions and lower costs faster than ever before. Commercial property owners can now meet their ESG and triple bottom line objectives with AI – and its time to take advantage of it!


[1] US Energy Information Administration (EIA) (2020)

[2] IEA, NRCAN,  Energy End-Use (Urge-Vorsatz), US Energy Information Administration Survey​

Smart & Healthy Buildings Summit

Ben will be speaking at our upcoming Smart & Healthy Buildings Summit, taking place from 23-24 March 2021. Featuring world leading speakers and case studies, the Summit will examine the strategies, processes and technologies needed to create buildings that offer greater transparency about who is in them, how they are used and how well they are functioning.


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