Siim Täkker, CEO, R8 Technologies asks what would happen if we banished the high energy prices ourselves, as in controlled and curbed them to a significant extent?

Such a statement may seem somewhat unrealistic to a bystander, but having been deeply involved in energy efficiency issues in commercial real estate for the past 5 years, I dare say that, at least for commercial real estate, it is anything but utopian. In fact, it is a matter of reducing energy consumption, which has a direct impact on energy costs.

But to begin with, did you know that as much as 18% of the world’s energy is spent on managing commercial real estate? And that 41% of that is spent on heating, cooling and ventilation?

This is an enormous amount of energy, which, incidentally, in line with the climate neutrality targets set in the European Union, must be reduced by 2030 so that CO2 emissions are reduced by as much as 55% compared to today.

While climate agreements seems to be more of a peace time topic at the moment, the latest grim war-related developments in the energy market present us with another inevitability today - for the sake of sustainability of day-to-day operations. We simply have no choice but to come up with and implement efficient technologies to optimise energy use to the extent that our energy costs will remain on a similar plateau in the future. We must mention here that costs can and should be saved without compromising on our consumption habits or quality. Otherwise, would you be willing to accept that the internal temperature of buildings should be a chilly 16°C in the winter and a stifling 30°C in the summer?

But how to achieve this? The simplest way to significantly increase efficiency fast, even by more than 30%, is to use artificial intelligence. It is the AI technology that is leading us into a new and significantly more energy-efficient era today. If we add that the scalability of such systems is very good and that the financial threshold for end-users to deploy them is non-existent, it is a win-win situation in the best sense of the word.

 Source: BEIS / National Statistics, Quarterley Energy Prices, 31 March 2022

For example, in several European countries, the R8 Digital Operator uses AI technology and has given remarkably good results in the field of energy efficiency in several shopping centres, office buildings and hotels. For example, the R8 Digital Operator was able to reduce the energy consumption of one large shopping centre in Estonia by as much as 30,000 euros – and all that in just one month!

Why am I writing about this? Now that the volatility of energy prices has reached unprecedented levels and the price of gas and other fuels is rallying, there are many who are vigorously seeking a solution. The situation on the electricity market is illustrated by the graph below which shows the average price in the electricity market by months. If only a few years the average market price of electricity for large consumers has risen from 10.85p / KWh in 2018 to 14.08p / KWh in by the end of 2021. However, the price fluctuates daily, and there are consequently opportunities to direct consumption to cheaper times or even to earn money through ‘demand - response’ with the help of a virtual power plant.

It is a time of changes, when strong technological innovation based on artificial intelligence is helping to counter the energy price uprising. Only those who take real action now will remain competitive. The solutions for this already exist.