August 2021

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How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the HVAC Industry
By: Blake Standen, Senior Solutions Engineer at BrainBox AI

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Most existing HVAC systems for commercial buildings aren’t as energy efficient as they could be. This is largely because they are generally fixed systems programmed for static environments. But weather, seasons, and occupancy rates are notoriously dynamic. This discord has led to wasted energy, higher carbon footprints, and unnecessarily large utility bills and maintenance costs. Now, as climate change continues to alter our weather patterns and governments proceed to crack down on GHG emissions, the built environment is under increasing need to innovate.


In the US, a commercial building’s HVAC system accounts for 35-45% of its total energy usage, a large portion of which is generally wasted due to equipment or management inefficiencies. These same buildings also happen to be responsible for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, adding to extreme temperatures, an increased demand for HVAC systems, and more stringent energy efficiency policies.


Over the last few years, a plethora of tech companies have concentrated on developing technologies to address these challenges through artificial intelligence, applying machine learning to existing HVAC systems and making them more energy efficient. Innovative solutions, such as connected devices, AFDDs, EMIS, and advanced supervisory controls driven by AI, are gaining in popularity as a means of continuously monitoring, assessing, and adjusting HVAC systems. These solutions draw on untapped efficiency gains and open a pathway to powerful new data insights to better manage ineffective systems.


The impact of these technologies is seen in their significant reduction in total energy costs, improved thermal comfort, and decrease in buildings’ carbon footprints. Additionally, these solutions are cutting down on HVAC equipment’s maintenance and overall life cycle costs by reducing the unit runtime needed to maintain optimal temperatures within a building.


BrainBox AI is a prime example of this kind of technology. Lowering buildings’ total energy costs by up to 25%, reducing their carbon footprints by a 20-40%, increasing occupant comfort by up to 60%, and extending equipment service life by up to 50%, the unobtrusive, autonomous device connects to existing HVAC systems within a matter of hours. Using deep neural AI networks and cloud-based computing, it analyzes internal and external data to predict future temperatures within each zone of a building, allowing it to make pre-emptive micro-adjustments in real-time.


Existing systems’ data also becomes more valuable as BrainBox AI writes back directly to a building’s control systems, rendering it compatible with other machine learning tools. Additionally, the solution supports its clients with a 24/7 monitoring service that keeps track of their building’s system while preventively monitoring for equipment inconsistencies or anticipated issues.


It's easy to see why embracing innovations such as these will be critical as the HVAC industry evolves. Utilizing the data that is currently available in these systems is simply a smart use of existing investments and will enable building managers to gain much more insight into their systems and efficiency opportunities. The cumulative effect of harnessing existing HVAC systems’ potential while simultaneously reducing the amount of energy they consume could go a long way toward meeting nations’ carbon reduction goals while saving on maintenance costs and utility bills. Clearly AI is an exciting avenue to explore in the drive for innovation within the notably outdated HVAC industry.

blakeBlake Standen, Senior Solutions Engineer at BrainBox AI

Over 11 years of energy efficiency consulting experience including utility program implementation, evaluation, and measurement and verification. In addition, Building Automation controls analytics, energy management information systems, and monitoring based commissioning. Motivated, personable professional. Accustomed to managing difficult projects, and analyzing complex systems. Demonstrated history of producing accurate, timely reports. Motivated and a self-starter.

Flexible and versatile – able to maintain a sense of professionalism under pressure. Poised and competent with demonstrated ability to handle multiple projects at any given time. Works well with deadline-driven environments. Excellent team-building and effective people management in the office and in remote locations.

Specialties: Building Automation Systems, Energy Efficiency Consulting, Energy Management, Energy Auditing, BAS data Analytics, and Energy Information Systems.


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