What is AI Technology?

As a branch of computer science, AI refers to a machine’s ability to perform functions that are normally associated with human minds.
A recent report from McKinsey (2) reveals that AI-driven technologies can help business reduce their CO2 emissions by up to 10% and cut energy costs by 10-20%. It also has the potential to deliver energy savings of up to 20% in buildings, and 15% in transportation systems.
At Equans, our Digital brand uses AI in combination with data science to support companies in their decarbonisation journey. We’ve seen first-hand how AI can intervene at all stages of the energy and data chain.

What is decarbonisation?

Decarbonisation refers to the process of reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from various sources, including industrial operations, transportation, and energy production.
It involves transitioning away from fossil fuel usage and towards clean, renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal power, which have a much lower carbon footprint.
Transitioning to alternative fuels and cleaner energy sources not only helps combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also contributes to energy security and sustainability.

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The compatibility of AI and the climate

Despite concerns about the impact of AI on jobs and the potential for it to be misused, the technology is also seen as a powerful tool in being able to combat climate change.
With AI being an emerging technology, and with our complex ecosystems, it’s difficult to accurately quantify the impact AI will have in reducing carbon emissions. However, as more sensors are distributed globally, and as machine learning continues to advance, we will learn more about how the technology can be used effectively to reduce the temperature of the planet.
According to BCG’s 2022 Climate AI Survey (3), 87% of CEOs with decision-making power in AI and climate believe that the technology is an essential tool reversing climate change.
AI has the potential to predict extreme weather conditions and to provide decision-support tools to help us identify and implement the most effective responses. It can also help identify various climate risk factors and help us develop practical applications to mitigate them.

Jérôme Stubler, CEO of Equans
Using artificial intelligence, we can gradually understand the thermal inertia of a building.
Jérôme Stubler CEO of Equans

Building energy management

AI has the ability to analyse large volumes of data from Heating Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems as well as energy management systems.

By leveraging machine learning, AI algorithms can automatically optimise energy generation, distribution, and consumption across buildings as demand requires. This can lead to more efficient use of energy resources and reduced carbon emissions.

For example, using AI, Equans helped its client Opéra National de Lyon to gain better control over its energy performance. Using our predictive AI software, we helped the venue improve the reliability of its energy performance. By being proactive in monitoring its energy use, we helped the facility avoid consumption drifts. 

In summary

As an emerging technology, AI is still in its infancy. However, there are several use cases that demonstrate its effectiveness in helping companies decarbonise to achieve their Net Zero goals.
When combined with a robust decarbonisation strategy that includes the use of renewable energy and sustainable business practices, AI will undeniably become an essential technology in helping companies reduce their carbon emissions.

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