Energy efficiency in buildings could be improved by up to 40%

Climate-tech initiative targets ambitious energy savings for commercial buildings.

Manchester Metropolitan University has partnered with climate-tech start-up OakTree Power to develop a Sustainable Energy Management System (SEMS).

The system, which will have Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, will ultimately reduce commercial buildings’ overall energy wastage, improve efficiency and lower carbon footprint. The project will be carried out for 24 months under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme.

These state-of-the-art SEMS will be designed to overcome the current limitations on energy efficiency improvements, which include huge variabilities and complexities of conditions affecting energy use in buildings – ranging from age, size, and location to the influence of occupancy patterns or prevailing weather conditions. As such, this partnership will look to increase energy efficiency improvements from 30% to 40-45%, in line with the International Energy Agency’s call to lower building energy used by 45% by 2050 to reach net-zero.

The systems are also expected to significantly reduce the time and cost of deploying SEMS for new customers – which typically only focus on a single group of assets, like air conditioning , supporting the rapid scaling of the business.

Alhussein Albarbar, Professor of Sustainable Systems Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “As experts in strategies for optimising energy consumption in buildings, we are delighted to be working with OakTree Power and contribute in improving energy efficiency by 30% to 40%. Through this partnership, we hope to reduce the carbon footprint produced by public buildings through the development of effective AI and ML based energy management systems.”

The partnership comes as OakTree Power plans to accelerate its AI and ML efforts and evolve its current cloud platform into a SEMS that can automatically produce bespoke predictive models, increasing properties’ energy efficiencies even further.

This new iteration of the company’s solution will tackle the energy optimisation limits imposed by infrastructures’ Building and Energy Management Systems (BEMs), enhancing the automation of energy efficiency management of corporate real estate (CRE), non-critical electrical plants and equipment, such as pumps, fans and air conditioning chillers.

Chantel Scheepers, CEO of OakTree Power, said: “Our vision at OakTree Power is to always aim for greater energy efficiency. As such, evolving our platform into a Sustainable Energy Management System (SEMS) is not only a major milestone for the company, but for the entire commercial property industry.

Having already achieved baseline energy reduction by 30%, through the combination of three OakTree Power products, the development of this new product with the support of Manchester Met, a university with a groundbreaking track record in developing AI and ML based algorithms for net zero energy building application, gives us a great sense of price.

“As we focus at energy wastage and further optimization, we will look to reduce long term energy wastage by at least 10%, while adding the data to our current models to improve overall efficiency”.

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