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Introducing AI to HVAC: the Future of Building Automation

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Introducing AI to HVAC: the Future of Building Automation

It is expected that 10 million self-driving cars will be on the road in the U.S. alone by 2020, according to Research and Markets. What’s more, marketing firm ABI projects that eight million driverless cars will be added to the road in 2025. Innovation in the transportation sector has been progressing rapidly, in part thanks to the agile start-up world and fast-moving giants, such as Tesla and Google.

And yet, as the transportation industry is evolving dramatically, other aspects of our day-to-day experience remain relatively unchanged. Since the invention of the thermostat about 130 years ago, we have not seen revolutionary innovation in the built environment or real estate sector.

This, despite the fact that people will continue to move to cities, we will continue to build more buildings, and our buildings will continue to use a lot of energy. The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060.

Or, as Bill Gates put it in his recently trending video about the challenges of climate change:

WE WILL BUILD AN ENTIRE NEW YORK CITY EVERY MONTH… FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS!


Could autonomous buildings, whether in commercial retail spaces, hotels, schools or office buildings, play an important role in our ability to slow down climate change?

For BrainBox AI, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

AI for HVAC


As the first ever startup to enable building automation with Artificial Intelligence, BrainBox AI offers an autonomous AI technology for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), placing it at the forefront of the green building revolution.

Currently, AI technologies are not being leveraged to make our buildings and built environments run more efficiently. Buildings have been built with the same models for the last 40 years and innovation in HVAC has been given little attention, even as our cities continue to grow, which is problematic.

HVAC structures are still designed as fixed systems, or programmed for a fairly static environment, even though the weather and seasons are fluid and dynamic. A fixed response is costly, both for business – since inefficient systems can contribute to higher energy bills and maintenance costs – and the environment. In fact, HVAC systems account for 51% of the total energy usage in commercial buildings. Inefficient and poorly managed systems are also responsible for occupant discomfort and a major contributor to rising levels of greenhouse gases.

There is a significant potential for improvement in the way we operate HVAC systems in all of our buildings.

Using technology to move from reactive to pre-emptive


This potential for more buildings to become smarter, greener and more efficient is the foundation of BrainBox AI’s work.

BrainBox AI uses deep learning, cloud-based computing, algorithms and a proprietary process to support a 24/7 self-operating building that requires no human intervention and enables maximum energy efficiency. Pre-commercialization tests have demonstrated that BrainBox AI enables a 25-35% reduction in total energy costs in less than three months, with low to no CAPEX needed from property owners. It also improves occupant comfort by 60% and decreases the carbon footprint of a building by 20-40%.

This is accomplished when buildings move from being reactive to pre-emptively managing their HVAC systems. BrainBox AI’s system also uses AI for predictive HVAC maintenance. An easy-to-understand diagnostics dashboard informs building managers ahead of time if an issue is imminent, saving time and money.

An artificial brain for autonomous buildings


BrainBox AI is more than a tool. It is like connecting an artificial brain to a building so that it can think by itself and make decisions by itself. It seamlessly integrates into a building’s existing HVAC system, analyzes the building for a period of 4-6 weeks and uses its suite of algorithms to send more efficient operating instructions to the HVAC system.

BrainBox AI does this by analyzing information from a multitude of internal and external data points, combining time series data with deep learning engines and delivering high quality predictions for each zone of the building. Its advanced technology enables it to make exceptionally accurate predictions about the built environment, empowering the deployment of algorithms to drive the HVAC system. The result is a 24/7 self-operating building that requires no human intervention, that is functioning at optimal efficiency and ensuring maximum comfort.

As part of its technology development process, BrainBox AI is partnering with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), an organization funded by the United States Department of Energy that focuses on the development of creative answers to today’s energy challenges. To effectively map out a building’s HVAC control points and ensure all data labels used follow Haystack conventions, NREL and BrainBox AI are working together for the development of an automapping AI tool which is being referred to as Autobots. Watch for more information about this technology to be released soon.

What this all means for real estate


Using AI to significantly reduce energy consumption and decrease a building’s carbon footprint is a vital step to achieving sustainability objectives and establishing your organization as a leader in green building tech.

If you are a real estate owner, property manager or real estate developer, it’s time embrace automation and AI and to see how it can significantly transform your property for the better.