News - August 7, 2023

Artificial intelligence doesn't just write texts

Written by Bertrand Piccard 2 min read

Control means prevention. It also means distributing, balancing, reducing and making efficient. Especially when it comes to energy.

The war in Ukraine has caused everyone to panic in their search for new gas suppliers, but not enough to put in place the solutions needed to save energy, even though these exist just about everywhere. The Solar Impulse Foundation has found them in start-ups as well as in major industrial groups, but potential users are still not sufficiently aware of them.

Here is one that cannot be ignored, developed by ENGIE Solutions and approved by the Foundation in 2019. Vertuoz is based on a simple principle: consume energy only when necessary. A topical issue, this solution uses Artificial Intelligence to manage a building's overall energy consumption in order to make it more efficient. It is a system that uses interconnected objects (temperature sensors, CO2 sensors, connected valves, etc.) to enable the building manager to control the building's energy equipment (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) in a fully automated way. This technology takes into account a large number of parameters, such as meteorological data or the building's actual occupancy schedule, and controls the energy supply in a personalised way. ENGIE Solutions estimates that its Vertuoz technology, which is already operational in more than 300 commercial buildings, reduces energy consumption by 25% on average, giving a return on investment in 3 to 5 years.

One might well ask why not all buildings are equipped with this technology, given that we have here a cutting-edge technology that is simple to install and control, and which can deliver considerable savings in terms of both energy and money in a school, office or public building. Like an orchestra conductor, the building manager can perfectly adapt consumption to his needs. It's a system that serves the consumer, the electricity supplier who is selling technology instead of energy, and the community, because if it were adopted on a large scale, we could make huge savings. As ever, it's as logical as it is ecological.  

However, here as elsewhere, it's a question of changing habits, of shaking up the status quo, which means demonstrating, proving and motivating. Whether we're talking to political or industrial decision-makers, we need to convince all those who are too entrenched in an old way of doing things of the need for change. What reassures me is meeting those who have understood that we can now do so much better with technical solutions and common sense.

*This article is taken from Les Echos/Investir, where Bertrand Piccard writes a monthly column*.

Written by Bertrand Piccard on August 7, 2023

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